Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Give Us 65% of Oil Wells -South South and South East Lawmakers
Nigerian Beacon

To facilitate development in the Niger Delta region, South-South and South
East lawmakers have urged the Federal Government to review the ownership
structure of oil wells in the country.

“The people of the Niger Delta region should possess at least 65 percent
of the oil wells contrary to the present ownership structure where less
than 10 percent of the oil blocks belong to our people”

They noted that the region’s development is being hindered by the present
payment mode of derivative oil funds.

“There is an urgent need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to put in
place adequate machinery that would ensure direct payment of derivative
oil funds into the hands of Niger Delta Benefiting communities” the
principal officers and members of the Houses of Assembly in the region

Rising from the first parliamentary session of the South-South and
South-East Houses of Assembly in Owerri, Imo State weekend, the lawmakers
condemned the criminal and nefarious activities of the so called herdsmen.

“Legislators of the Houses of Assembly in the South-South and South East
can no longer watch helplessly as our region drifts aimlessly while our
people walk the razor edge under the strain of impoverishment,
environmental degradation, insecurity and uncertainty on the one hand and
the destruction of oil/gas installations and the attendant consequences
including their impact on the ecosystem and the economy on the other hand”

They urged the youth to shun confrontation, violence and militancy in
pressing for the redress of the zone.

“They must embrace dialogue and diplomacy and channel their grievances
through various constituted platforms”

The joint session of legislators from the South -East and South –South
geo-political zones not only condemned the evil acts of kidnapping,
hostage taking and bursting of oil pipelines but stressed that militants
from the zones should be constituted into an officially recognized brigade
for the protection of oil installations

“They should among other things be charged with the responsibility to halt
the rise of other offensive militant groups who may from time to time
threaten to spring up”

The lawmakers advised the Presidency to direct the security agencies in
the country to brace up and be alive to their constitutional
responsibility of protecting lives and property.

“They must save the people of the geo-political zones from the hands of
the marauding herdsmen. Governments of the South-East and South-South
geo-political zones should set up a high powered joint judicial panel of
inquiry to unravel the facts and circumstances surrounding the incessant
attacks by the herdsmen and determine the best way to prevent its
recurrence in the zones. They should also establish special task force
drawn from the various security agencies and neighborhood watch in each
local government to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen and prosecute them”

The legislators, who called for more proactive measures to address the
activities of herdsmen, restated their commitments to pass bills
restricting cattle rearing, prohibiting grazing of cattle from one
location to another through farmlands thereby causing damages to farm
lands, health hazards and obstruction of vehicular and human traffic.

The lawmakers while attributing the defective and harsh socio-economic
environment, lack of employment opportunities, lack of empowerment for the
youth, environmental degradation, lack of infrastructure, general
underdevelopment and inadequate benefit of the resources from the region,
despite being the major source of the economic resources of the nation to
the causes of upsurge in militancy activities in the region, rejected the
proposed bill to establish and control grazing routes and reserves before
the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.

They urged the Federal Government to revisit the performance of the
amnesty programme, the United Nations Environment Programme Report and the
Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project with a view to strengthening
grey areas.

They also urged the National Assembly to ensure the accelerated passage of
the Petroleum Industry Bill

“The Federal Government should enter into peaceful dialogue with the
critical stakeholders in the South-South and South- East in resolving the
dispute and operate within the rule of engagement without incurring
collateral damage”

Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Rivers,
Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo states were in attendance.


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