Host Communities of Nigerian oil and gas operations have demanded the N165bn penalty levy on gas flaring by the Federal Government.
Dr. Mike Emuh, the National Public Relations Officer of HOSTCON, made the demand in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Warri, Delta State.
NAN reports that oil companies operating in the country are mandated to pay agreed fees on gas flaring to the Federal Government. The companies were also given a December 31, 2008 deadline to stop the flare or face more sanctions.
Environmentalists have argued that the gas flare had contributed to global warming, degradation of marine and farming in the Niger Delta, as well as health dangers to the communities.
Emuh, who is also the Delta State Coordinator of HOSTCON, said that the money was urgently needed for the development of the oil producing communities.
He listed the dearth of human and capital development, as well as unemployment as some of the problems of the oil-rich region.
According to him, “Our people are suffering, our youths are not employed, our women are not empowered, no infrastructure, the old infrastructure we have are dilapidated.”
He said that the situation informed the host communities to team up to pursue the release of the N165bn owed them by the government. He explained that the body was also mandated to ensure proper utilisation of the 50 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund given to oil states.
He said that the release of the money would reduce militancy and crime in the region.
“If the FG releases the N165bn and the budgeted N10bn for poverty alleviation, there will be an enduring peace, progress, harmony and development in the region,” he added.