Oil producing communities in Rivers State have charged Governor Nyesom Wike to establish the Rivers State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (RISOPADEC) to enable them benefit from the 13 per cent derivation that accrues to the state.
The communities under the aegis of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), said it was inhumane for the state government to refuse to establish RISOPADEC even under conspicuous evidence of environmental degradation of the host communities due to the activities of oil companies.
HOSTCOM National Vice Chairman, Ibinabo Sanipe; Steve Marcus (Rivers State Legal Adviser, HOSTCOM) and HOSTCOM consultant, George Bucknor, made the appeal to the Governor in Port Harcourt.
Sanipe said it was worrisome that since the Federal Government began to implement the 13 per cent derivation as contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Rivers State has failed to establish a commission to oversee the development of oil producing and impacted communities in the state.
He explained that it was HOSTCOM’s persistent agitation for 50 per cent derivation that compelled former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to commence the payment of the 13 per cent derivation originally intended for the host communities to state governments in the Niger Delta.
Sanipe said at the meeting where the decision was taken to pay the 13 per cent derivation, Obasanjo had suggested to the governors of Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo states to pass a law through their respective state House of Assemblies to establish oil producing commission for the purpose of administration of the derivation for the development of the host communities.
He regretted that whereas all the oil producing states have established oil producing communities commissions, the Rivers State government has refused to recognise the host communities.
HOSTCOM State legal adviser, Steve Marcus appealed to the conscience of Wike to establish RISOPADEC.
Marcus said if the governor establishes the commission, issues of incessant conflict between host communities and oil companies would become a thing of the past, as the commission would be readily available to tackle the developmental deficits.