The leadership of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON) have gave antidote for peace in the Niger Delta region, saying until the Federal Government releases the N98bn gas flare penalty money owed oil producing communities, peace may still be far from the region.
The National Chairman of the group, Mr. Mike Emuh, said apart from the fact that it is their right, releasing the money would help to sustain existing peace in the region.
According to him, “It is an international law that a $3.5 be paid by oil companies for every 1,000 standard cubic feet of gas flared”.
“The law requires the fund to be paid to the host communities for environmental degradation, pollution and plundering of their communities as a result of gas flaring.
“Instead, the oil companies pay the fine to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
“On receipt of the money, DPR pays the money to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who later transfers the money to the Federation Account. This is an aberration,” he added
Continuing, HOSCON appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to give peace a chance by maintaining ceasefire as negotiations can only flourish in an atmosphere of peace.
He averred that “We appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers not to resume hostilities. With the ceasefire, for 11 months, there was peace in the Niger Delta region.
“HOSCON, which is the parent of these youths, appeals to them to be patient with the government.
“After the meeting, we are hopeful that something good would come out of it and their concerns would be addressed,’’ Emuh said.
HOSCON leader however, blamed the Niger Delta Governors for abusing well over N10 trillion paid to oil-producing states in the last 16 years and argued that payment of 13 per cent derivation remained very poor.