By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri
The Gbaramatu-Egbema-Ogulagha Coastal Communities Front (GEOCCF) onTuesday vowed that the proposed Petroleum Host & Impacted Communities Development Bill by the Senate and the Oil Companies to further enslave indigenous occupants of Host Communities (Oil & Gas) will be resisted.
GEOCCF said the bill is geared towards making the Oil Companies “Overlords, emperors, tyrants” and “Colonial Masters” over and above the indigenous occupants.
GEOCCF made the vow on behalf of their people in an Open letter signed by Hon. George.U. Timinimi,President, Chief Bright Abilo, Frederick Igere, Shandors Tortor, Philemon Ugedi, Chief Freason Dose and Ekio Youpele which same was addressed to the Senate.
GEOCCF said a joint-venture sinister move by the legislators and the Oil Companies to further enact the enslavement of the Host Communities.
GEOCCF warned that any attempts to use the instrument of legislation to alter the present structures would result to instability of Chevron Nigeria Limited as well as other Oil Companies Operations.
GEOCCF argued that the oil companies have no business in determining the emergence of community representatives who manage the Host and Impacted Communities Fund.
“We state clearly that giving oil companies the right to choose those that would be saddled with the responsibility of administering host communities fund would lead to unnecessary meddlesomeness by the companies (settlers) in the internal affairs of communities with the attendant and unthinkable negative consequences”.
“It is strange, unthinkable and undemocratic for oil companies to be saddled with so much powers and responsibilities with respect to the internal governance of oil producing communities in the instant bill before the National Assembly.
“There is no basis at all for persons from outside oil producing communities to be involved in the management of the host and impacted communities funds. The oil communities should be allowed to exclusively govern themselves because all the host and impacted communities have capable men of integrity who can manage their own affairs”.
” The bureaucratic governance structure for the Host and Impacted Communities Fund proposed in the bill comprising of: Settlors (Oil Companies) Board of Trustees, Management Committee, Advisory Committee, is unnecessary and unacceptable. The effect of this bureaucratic structure would be that all the time resources would be spent on bureaucracy at the expense of the speedy development of the host and impacted communities. The host and impacted communities do not need Settlor (oil companies), board of trustees, management committee and advisory committee in order to manage the funds towards the development of the communities”.
“The present structure which is totally driven by communities with slight oversight by the state governments and regular briefing of the oil companies of the communities activities is sufficient.
GEOCCF that the Petroleum Host Communities Fund should be maintained at ten (10%) monthly profit of oil companies as was initially proposed and totally rejected the paltry 2.5% proposal and enormous powers and functions given to oil companies under the instant bill.
GEOCCF said”Any attempt to use the instrument of legislation to alter the present structures would result in instability in operations of Chevron Nigeria Limited and other oil companies.