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Passage of PIB will be futile effort if 10% Equity Share for Host Communities is not honoured -HOSTCOM

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Passage of PIB will be futile effort if 10% Equity Share for Host Communities is not honoured -HOSTCOM

The high expectations for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) may suffer a major setback if 10% of operational gains is not agreed upon between the federal government and Host communities producing oil and gas production.

While the federal government in its executive bill currently being considered by both Chambers of the National Assembly is proposing 2.5% share for the Host Communities (HOSTCOM), leaders from the various communities are kicking against it as they are insisting on 10% equity participation as share holding.
At a news conference Sunday in Abuja, HOSTCOM president, High Chief Benjamin Style Tamaranebi also declared that an offer of 10 percent equity shares to the host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB would bring peace to troubled oil and gas producing communities.

He said the 2.5% proposed in the bill being supported by the Petroleum Minister , Timipre Sylva, is not acceptable and cannot be acceptable, no matter the grammar or semantics they want to use in driving it .
He said the vandalisation of pipelines and and youth restiveness that has been hampering production will continue.
However, he said if the 10% is guaranteed the communities would own the projects because of their stake thereby mounting sentry to prevent any damage.

“During the Public hearing on the bill at the Senate last week Monday and Tuesday, we made very clear presentation to this effect and also attempted doing so at House of Representatives on Thursday before one Mike Emuh sponsored by those against our position , assaulted me physically .

“As responsible people , we apologise on behalf of the entire oil and gas producing communities to President Muhamnadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly over the madness displayed by Mike Emuh who is an expelled member of HOSTCOM.
“But as far as the PIB is concerned, for it to see the light of the day in a way that it will guarantee safety for the operational companies in all the affected communities and give the communities themselves, equity participation and required sense of belonging, the 10% equity share must be honored .

” The Minister of State for Petroleum , should take his 2.5% operational cost ( OPEX) to the Marine as people of the affected communities are not morons or beggars begging for peanuts or grants from anybody “, he said .

He added that the peace being enjoyed across the Nine oil producing states is because of the hope of fairness and equity they see in PIB which unfortunately want to be dashed with the Host Communities 2.5 percentage offer.

“The world is transisting from fossil oil (Petroleum) to Gas , indicating a new world order requiring favourable working environment for all stakeholders which entire leaders of the host communities are ready to guarantee if the needful is done by Government as well .

“The people of the area are dying from cancerous emissions they take in without commensurate compensation in anyway .
“Not even a single cancer centre is established in any of the oil and gas producing communities ” he lamented .

He alleged that Mike Emuh being used by some people in high places to attack national executive of the host communities, is chieftain of oil bunkering in the Niger Delta

“Mike Emuh was expelled from the organization, based on nefarious conduct and criminal activities; he duped people, collected money from people here and there by
misusing HOSTCOM’s name, thereby misrepresenting HostCom in bad light to the general public. Consequently, he was dismissed as a member of the board of
trustees, and as national PRO since 2015, as published in Vanguard October 2015″, he explained.

He apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly over Thursday’s fracas at a House of Representatives Committee Hearing where some representatives of the communities engaged in fisticuffs.

He also accused the Mike Emuh-led Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas HOSTCON for misrepresenting the communities, and therefore, demanded an investigation to unmask and sanction sponsors of the group.

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Value chain: Gov Sule launches women multipurpose cooperative society in Wamba

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Value chain: Gov Sule launches women multipurpose cooperative society in Wamba

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, on Tuesday, launched the United Sister’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society, in Wamba central market, a Federal Government and International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), initiative aimed at reducing poverty.

Sule equally commissioned a solar-powered borehole located at Haske Gari Processing Centre, Gbude, also in Wamba Local Government Area.

He explained that both activities, jointly funded by the federal government and IFAD, are aimed at ensuring food security, increase small-scale farmer’s income. Enhance processing and marketing of rice and cassava, as well as promoting accelerated growth on sustainable basis.

According to him, the Value Chain Development Programme, is the initiative of the federal government, geared towards diversifying the economy as an alternative source of revenue.

He added that the programme is intended to focus more attention on agricultural growth with a view to transform the sector as the mainstay of the country’s economy.

The governor disclosed that in its determination to key into the programme, his administration, on July, 1, 2020, approved the whopping sum of N176m as counterpart funds, for the take-off and implementation of the project for the period of two years.

Sule reiterated the resolve of his administration to continue to align with policies of the federal government, in the collective commitment to providing the desired development, adding that it informs the decision by the state government to attract investors like Olam Nig. Limited, Dangote Group, Azman Rice, Flour Mills Nigeria Ltd, among others.

While appreciating the Federal Government and IFAD for choosing Nasarawa State to host the event, the governor disclosed further that similar projects have been completed in Lafia and Nasarawa, while those of Doma and Karu Local Local Government Areas are ongoing.

Earlier, the Programme Coordinator in the state, Dr. Eunice Adgidzi, disclosed that they have completed multi million naira projects across five local government areas, including five solar-powered boreholes, three market stores and two market stores.

She added that two market stores, as well as the cassava model 2 processing mill with crèche and restrooms, are ongoing.

Dr. Adgidzi said a total of 2, 233 farmers from 204 farmers’ organizations, engaged in rice and cassava production, processing and marketing, have been profiled and are benefiting from the project.

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HOSTCOM talks tough over 10% equity, says it can resurrect militancy

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HOSTCOM talks tough over 10% equity, says it can resurrect militancy

***List grey areas that must be expunged or ammended in the PIB

Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) have advised the Federal Government against truncating the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) stating that anything short of their demand for 10% equity, may prompt Niger Delta militants to return to the creeks.
The National President of HOSTCOM, High Chief (Dr) Benjamin Style Tamanarebi said every indication points to the fact that the Government is not interested in the passage of the bill because of lack of sincerity.
Tamarabi issued the statement as an executive summary after the joint committee on PIB town hall meetings between tha national Assembly with the Governments of the States, stakeholders and and Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas that took place from 1st to 5th of March, 2021.
He said the Niger Delta militants have been calm because of the high expectation that the HOSTCOM will secure the 10% equity in the PIB to at least atone for the monumental degradation on their environment.He therefore warned that it is in the best interest of all stakeholders that the federal Government stop treating the Niger Delta interest with kids gloves as it may boomerang. 
In the executive summary that was jointly signed by the National President and chairmen of the nine State chapters of the HOSTCOM, they listed the grey areas in the bill that must be expunged or amended.
They therefore reiterated their position to stand by the On-shore Host Communities so defined as Host and directly impacted Communities 50km radius of the Project site which includes pipelines.
They also reiterated in strong terms their unwavering position as submitted at both chambers of the National Assembly, especially the crucial areas as indicated in the various sections of the PIB.
They want a mechanism to be set-up for the obtaining of approvals by the Minister in matters that affect Federation account to include the Producing States and Host Communities as in chapter 1, part 1 which deals with Vesting of Petroleum, ownership as major stakeholders.
They want Part 111. Sections 3,4,5, which said, the Commission shall not undertake both Commercial and regulatory activities at the same time and should not temper with federation account funds such as the proposed 10% of rents on petroleum licences and petroleum mining leases which are usually in dollars to be expunged.
They demanded that the Governing Board be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives.”The Governing Board of the Authority should also be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives.
“On Section 47, which deals with Funding of the Authority: they want the proposed 1% to be expunged since the National Assembly appropriates funds to the Authority on a first line charge in addition to four other sources of funds.
They also want the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund contained in Section 52 to beexpunged and the Location of the Headquarters (HQ) of theAuthority to be in the major Petroleum Producing States.Part V, section 53, subsection (1) which says the Minister shall within 3months at the commencement of the Act incorporate the limited liability Company, they want ownership of all NNPC Limited share to be vested in the Government of the federation at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, HOSTCOM and the Governments of the petroleum Producing States of Oil and Gas for and on behalf of the people as in Section 53, subsection 3.

Subsection 6 & 7, which states that NNPC Limited and any of its subsidiaries shall conduct their affairs on a commercial basis without recourse to government funds and their memorandum and articles of association shall state these restrictions in the Bill.

On section 54, that deals with Transfer of Assets and Liabilities: “Let it be madeclear that NNPC must remain a Government National Company and any sale of shares must be with the approval of the Federal Government, the Petroleum Producing States/HostCom and the National Assembly.
 “The assets NNPC controls belongs to the Federation not the Federal Government alone. Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferable to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under sub section (1) of this section, shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the Government.
“The Petroleum Producing States must be given rights to first refusal to acquire the shares since most of the assets NNPC Ltd manages are derived from Petroleum which is produced from the Petroleum producing State.

On section Section 55, that deals with the Appointment of NNPC limited they said, theMinister shall upon incorporation of NNPC Limited, consult withthe Minister of Finance, and the Governments of the Petroleum Producing Oil and Gas States and HOSTCOM to appoint NNPC Limited.

On Section 59 that deals with the Board of NNPC Limited Composition, they want NNPCLimited to be determined by the shareholders of NNPCLimited in accordance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the articles of association of NNPCLimited since NNPC Limited is not solely owned by Government.

Continuing they also wantChapter two, Part 11, section 68, Up-streams operationsrelating to Titles and interpretation to be vested in the Federal Government and Governments of the Petroleum Producing States/HostCom.

They want section 68 subsection 3, sections 77(3); 78(2) etc, which provides for 1,500sq kilometres for anyfrontier acreage and limitless period for exploration to be expunged.

They demanded that Section 86, that deals with the Duration and Renewal of leases and licences to be for 5years minimum and 10years maximum.

On environmental Management Plan contained in Section 102 they demanded that the submissionmust include the compliance and implementation to all extant local and global regulations precedent to the commencement to anactivity and so stated in the bill.

Section 103: As a condition for the grant of a licence orlease and prior to the approval of the environmental management plan a licensee or lessee shall pay a prescribed financial contribution to an environmental remediation fund to the Host Communities (HostCom).
Section 104 that deals with Gas Flaring Penalties to be paid to Host Communities they said, now that the date is shifted all flaring fields should be captured, daily flares recorded accordingly by appropriate measuring and gauging instruments and data base provided, including a specific process on how to end the flare on or before 2025.
They want Section 115, that deals with Compensation for acquisition of land relating to the issuance of certificate of occupancy to be be expunged.
Chapter 3, section 234 Host Communities Sustainable Development: in pursuant to this Act there shall be established Host Communities Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (HC-OPADEC) which shall be replicated at the State and localGovernment levels.

Section 235: subsection(1) deals with the word settlor which the demanded should be replaced with the word Operating Company.

Section 4 deals with the appointment of Board of Trustees which they want be by the Communities and for the Communities as recommended.

“Section 240: Deals with the sustainable development trustfund, which shall be 10% equity share holding which is sacrosanct and shall include 25% of the royalty accruing from the oil and gas produced be payable into the account and before production commences an amount equivalent to 10% of the OPEX and CAPEX be also paid into the account.
 
This is the Position of HostCom and also supported by the Governors of the Producing Oil and Gas States. 
Section 242, deals with the Board of trustees, composition, management shall be by the Communities.

They also want Section 257 which deals with penalty against the HostCom for anact of vandalism, sabotage etc to be expunged as HostCom is neither the Chief executive Officer of their locality or the State nor Government security agency.

“We would also like to know about the position of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and Petroleum EqualizationFund since they were very conspicuous on the previous bills.

“All the amended interpretations should also be so stated in the bill.”They demanded that the Headquarters of NNPC Limited, the Commission and Authority be located in the major Producing Oil and Gas States to demonstrate Government’s transparency and evidence to sustainable development.

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Tunga community worries over influx of kidnappers/bandits

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Tunga community worries over influx of kidnappers/bandits

Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Tunga community in the Awe local government area of Nasarawa state is worried over influx of suspected kidnappers and bandits recently dislodged from Rutu in the Toto Local government area.

They were said to have been dislodged by command 4 Special Force Doma and are currently occupying Dangote farm land illegally

It would be recalled that recent reports indicated that bulldozer belonging to Dangote Sugar Refinery Company destroyed over 300 houses in Ugber village thereby rendering the Tivs settlement in Awe LGA homeless.

The Auditor of Tunga Development Association, Mr. Nasiru Muhammed-Tunga, who made the disclosure on Thursday in Awe local government area, described them as illegal occupants of Dangote sugar plots of land.

Muhammed-Tunga, said that majority of the occupants of the vast land are strange faces who have dettled in the company after compensations have been paid to the affected persons whose graves, economic trees and structures were confiscated.

He, however, debunked the claims made by some Tiv residents in Awe LGA, lamenting that they were inaccessible as at the time the
company paid compensation.

According to the Auditor of TDA, Tiv and Fulani’s were the first to be considered during the compensation process, noting that every person in Tunga community has been compensated.

He denied claims made by Tivs that over three hundred houses were destroyed by the company without any compensation.

His words: “We just woke up and see clusters of farmstead with unknown faces, this called for alarm with the rising spate of insecurity in the land, again they occupied our land without coming through the
traditional ruler, this is a threat to our existence”.

Speaking on the matter, Gayam Tunga, Mr. Ibrahim Adamu, said the crisis begun during the killing of late Sarkin Azara by Tivs who took refuge in unknown destination and returned to the land when there was compensation to every able settlers.

He, however, said none of those people that were returning were familiar faces, adding that even the graves, economic trees and structures were actually considered.

He added that petitions were written against Hakimi, MeGayam and one other explaining that other part of the reserved land was for the community.

Amos Kyaava in an interview claimed he was not present during the assessment by tge compensation committee as a result of crisis when they
sought refuge outside the state.

He explained that he left in 2017, when the former governor of Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, leased the land to Dangote Sugar Company

Francis Yors from Kukunbi cluster in previous interview said the compensation was just for economic trees and structures excluding plot of land.

Julius Tasha from Orobo cluster confirmed that they were given compensation by Dangote Sugar Company.

Some inhabitants of Tunga who spoke applauded Dangote for the choice of Tunga, noting that the company has brought a lot of prospects to their community.

Investigation by our correspondent, however, indicated that barely six thousand Tunga youth secured employment in Dangote with scores from Awe, the administrative head of Awe local government benefitting  from the benevolence.

Over N200 billion was earmarked for the development of the sugar company.

Narrating the ordeal of the Ugber villagers in the hands of the Dangote Sugar Refinery to NationalUpdate the village head, Mr. Timothy Ti’igh, he claimed that the Dangote firm did not contact them about buying the land, talk less of compensating the inhabitants to demolish their locality.

He said: “We only woke up on Thursday to see Dangote firm with bulldozer in our village pulling down our houses.
We lost a total of 80 bags of rice, 43 bags of surgum, 27 bags of soyabeans, 3,000 tubers of yam and 17 bags of beneseeds in the demolition exercise.”

“The Dangote team also set several basins of our smoked fish, beds and beddings, and other valuables ablaze as you can see. They snatched a bag containing some money and a handset from my son and took it away,” he added.

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