Southeast and south-south lawmakers want Niger Deltans to own 65% of all oil wells

LAWMAKERS from the south-south and southeast geo-political zones have called on the federal government to allow indigenes of oil-producing states to own 65% of the oil wells in the Niger Delta as a means of ending the ongoing agitation in the region.

Over recent months, militancy has returned to the Niger Delta region with militant groups blowing up oil installations and threatening to halt production entirely. They have asked all companies operating in the area to leave, expressing dissatisfaction about the fact that local people are not enjoying any of the benefits of the oil.

Talks have been arranged between the government and local Niger Delta communities and members of the houses of assembly from both zones have asked the federal government to agree to 65% ownership going into the negotiations. In addition, the lawmakers also condemned the criminal and nefarious activities of herdsmen and called for the establishment of special task force drawn from the various security agencies and Neighbourhood Watch in each local government area to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen and prosecute them.

“The people of the Niger Delta region should possess at least 65% of the oil wells contrary to the present ownership structure where less than 10% of the oil blocks belong to our people. There is an urgent need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to put in place adequate machinery that would ensure direct payment of derivative oil funds into the hands of Niger Delta benefiting communities,” the legislators said.

After the first parliamentary session of the southeast and south-south Houses of Assembly in Owerri, Imo State, over the weekend, the lawmakers said: “Legislators of the Houses of Assembly in the South-South and South East can no longer watch helplessly as our region drifts aimlessly while our people walk the razor edge under the strain of impoverishment, environmental degradation, insecurity and uncertainty on the one hand and the destruction of oil/gas installations and the attendant consequences including their impact on the eco-system and the economy on the other hand.”

They urged the youth to shun confrontation, violence and militancy in pressing for the redress of the zone, asking them to embrace dialogue and diplomacy and channel their grievances through various constituted platforms. In addition, the legislators also condemned the evil acts of kidnapping, hostage taking and bursting of oil pipelines but stressed that militants from the zones should be constituted into an officially recognised brigade for the protection of oil installations.

Nigerian Watch

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