By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
The host communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, (HostCom) have urged Gov Willie Obiano of Anambra State to urgently set up the state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ANAMSOPADEC).
Dr Benjamin Tamaranebi, National President, HostCom, made the call at the convention and inauguration of 21 Local Government Areas Coordinators and Executives of HostCom, Anambra Chapter, in Awka.
Tamaranebi said that the commission would facilitate the development of local communities and peaceful disposition of indigenes in communities.
He said that the commission would also dissuade youths from economic sabotage of pipeline vandalism, illegal bunkering, illegal refineries and other vices.
‘It is unfortunate that Nigeria does not have an operational youth and women’s developmental policies, while there are no jobs for youth groups.
‘This has contributed largely to youth displacement into militancy, political unrest, kidnaping, hostage taking, armed robbery, terrorism and banditry, happening in almost every part of our dear nation, Nigeria,’ he said.
Tamaranebi said it is why HostCom has been striving all these years negotiating with government to address challenges of underdevelopment in oil and gas host communities.
‘Today we have gotten three per cent HostCom Trust Fund, instead of the 10 per cent we agitated at the National Assembly. We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the promise kept,’ he said.
Tamaranebi urged the community leaders to ensure judicious use of the three per cent trust fund to drive developmental projects in the host communities.
‘We need your cooperation and support as we continue negotiation with government for total inclusion and management of our trust fund in relation with the traditional rulers for sustainable development of our communities,’ he said.
Also speaking, Igwe Chris Onyekwuluje of Umunya, Grand Patron of HostCom, commended Gov. Obiano for ensuring that the state joined the league of oil producing states in the country.
In his remarks, Chief Victor Emeka, state chairman, HostCom, promised that no community would be left out as they explored dialogue to attract development to communities.
‘Let’s work together to achieve greater things for our communities. We promise to carry every community along in our quest for infrastructure and human development,’ he said.
Anambra State officially joined oil-producing states following an approval granted by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which ratified the attribution of 11 oil wells to the state.
The eleven oil wells wholly attributed to Anambra State, are; Nzam-One Oil Well, Alo-One Oil Well, and Ogbu-One Oil Well.Others are Ameshi One, Two, Three and Four Oil Wells; as well as Enyie One, Two, Three, and Four Oil Wells.
With the approval, Anambra is expected to henceforth be eligible to benefit from the 13 per cent Derivation Fund which mineral-producing states in Nigeria are statutorily entitled to, immediately it begins to contribute to the federation account.
The approval was contained in a letter signed by the Secretary to the RMAFC, Mr Mohammed Shehu, and dated August 24, 2021.