Niger DeltaOil & GasSociety Watch

NGO Raises Alarm over Failure of Oil Companies to Establish Host Community Development Trust in Akwa Ibom

...Charges Communities to Engage Companies 

Peace Point Development Foundation (PPDF), a Civil Society Organisation, has raised alarm over the failure of oil and gas companies operating in Akwa Ibom State to establish the Host Community Development Trust.
The Host Community Development Trust is a 3 percent operating expenses of an oil company which will be used directly for the development of oil and gas host communities as provided for in the Petroleum industry Act (PIA).
According to the guidelines published by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, the Trust must be established by the oil companies within 12 months of its assent. The PIA was assented by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 16, 2021.
In a communique issued at the end of PPDF Multi Stakeholders environmental dialogue held on Thursday, August 18, 2022 in Uyo, the organisation called on Oil and Gas companies operating in Akwa Ibom State to immediately begin the process of setting up Host Community Development Trust in their host communities in compliance with the PIA guidelines.
The organisation further urged oil and gas host communities in the oil-rich State to own the process of the establishment of Host Community Development Trust and not give room for hijack by political actors.
The gathering noted that if the host communities fail to take ownership of the process they may fail to gain from the HCDT just as other intervention programmes which have been commandeered by politicians.
The Communique stated that there is also a need for community leaders to mobilise, cascade knowledge and engage the oil and gas communities towards the establishment of the Trust.
It was resolved that since there are some sessions in the PIA that reflect colonial tendencies especially in the implementation of the HCDT, there is urgent need for the Act to be reviewed thus forestalling future conflict.
Discussants during panel discussion.
The gathering recommended that In consultation towards the establishment of organs in the HCDT among other germane issues in oil and gas, communities must consider gender and social inclusion as a priority.
Part of the communique read ” Oil and gas companies together with the government must make deliberate efforts to check oil theft and oil spill for the safety of environment and health coupled with check on loss of resources.
” There should be concerted efforts by NOSDRA to do more with the resources at their disposal. They should immediately hold sensitisation talks with host communities on how best to report and take actions when there are cases of oil spill in their environment with a view to getting justice and checking further spills.
“The NOSDRA Act should be reviewed to enhance the work of the Agency.”
The gathering maintained that ExxonMobil must not sell its Oil Mining assets in the State until there is an audit of the environment, health and livelihood of the communities which they have operated for over 60 years.
They noted that the data of the audit must be available on public domain and the company must consequently restore the communities.
It was recommended that stemming from the waves of divestment and the need to establish HCDT, Communities need to take action, speak out, retool their argument, and use a nonviolent approach to engage state actors and oil and gas communities.
The Dialogue which had the theme: Environmental Governance in Oil and Gas: Community Issues and Responses had Participants drawn from the Oil and Gas Host communities of Ikot Abasi and Ibeno local government area, Civil societies, Key Environmental Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government at the federal, State and local government area.
Keynote address was delivered by a representative of the Zonal Coordinator of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
Goodwill messages came from the Ministry of Environment, Information Officer, Ikot Abasi local government council and leaders of various oil and gas communities working with PPDF.
Presentations came from the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Policy Alert, Tijah Bolton-Akpan and Humanitarian Response Expert, Juliana Ekpo.
Dr. Nnimmo Bassey making presentation.
Topics considered were ” overview of Environmental Issues: Extraction in oil and Gas Communities”, Regulatory Framework: Responses, Gaps and Petroleum Industry Act”, and “Gender Inclusion: Responses and Peace Building”. These topics birthed panel discussions which engendered expression of concerns and inputs from the grassroots coupled with expert interventions.
Presentation by Tijah-Bolton Akpan

Related Articles

Back to top button