By Ikeugonna Eleke
A group, Host Communities of Nigeria (oil and gas producing communities), Hostcom, has called on the federal government to commence the immediate payment of 13 percent derivation to Anambra as it is with other oil producing states.
The group which made the call while briefing journalists in Awka, decried the federal government's stand that Anambra could not benefit from the 13 percent derivation as an oil producing state because its oil was not in commercial quantity. They said it was no longer acceptable.
National chairman of Hostcom, Dr Mike Emuh, who spoke to journalists after a meeting of the Anambra Chapter of the group, called for explanation over the whereabouts of oil drilled from the recently discovered wells in Anambra State.
He said, 'If they say the oil in Anambra is not in commercial quantity, then they should tell us what has been happening to the quantity drilled from Anambra.
'Even if it is one drum, we demand to know where it goes. Have they allocated Anambra oil wells to some powerful individuals? If at all oil is being drilled from Anambra, what happens to the money they sell from it?
'I tell you, Anambra is long overdue for the 13percent derivation paid to all oil producing states. Even Lagos where oil was discovered just the other day is now enjoying 13 percent derivation; so why shouldn't Anambra?'
Emuh questioned why the federal government would dismiss Anambra's demand for payment on the basis that the oil was in small quantity, yet foreign oil companies had remained in the area, drilling its oil for years.
He described the discovery of gas in Anambra as a blessing to the state, saying that while oil was fast depleting in quantity in Nigeria and the price shrinking, gas had remained high in price.
'Oil is going, and gas is coming. Gas is now the major frontier of oil business, and with the discovery of gas in Anambra, it is supposed to be a major boom for the state,' he said.
The national president said Hostcom comprised all host communities of fields where oil and gas had been discovered, and that its aim was to promote piece in their individual areas and engender peaceful and harmonious living between expatriates working in the oil fields and their host communities.
He further tasked government to consider siting one out of the 10 modular refineries proposed to be built in the country in Anambra State.