Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers has advocated that the Petroleum Industry Bill, currently before the National Assembly, should allocate 10 percent oil revenue to host communities.

Wike made the call when members of the National Assembly Committee on PIB visited him at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

He said the bill needed to specify, in clear terms, projects that the fund should be used.

The governor added that oil-producing communities had suffered the loss of livelihood due to international oil companies’ activities.

“It is unfortunate that people produce oil but live in poverty. I believe that the PIB committee will make recommendations of how certain percent(age) must be given to the host communities.

“There are issues of education and health, so don’t just say 10 percent to the oil host communities. It must be tied to specific projects so that whoever is in charge will take note of them,” he said.

Mr. Wike advised that the mistakes associated with the act establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) be avoided as it did not specify what projects the commission should embark on in the Niger Delta.

He emphasised the need for the PIB, when passed, to be signed and not go the way of the Electoral Bill yet to be assented to.

Victor Onyemaechi, Deputy Chairman of the committee who led the delegation, said the members were in Rivers for a town hall meeting with stakeholders to resolve what should be allocated to host communities in the bill.

Mr. Onyemaechi said a lot of people were misinformed about host communities, associating them with hostilities.

“What we have seen in the last four days have proved people wrong. As we walked round these few days, we saw that people use wood as a bridge to get to where Shell Petroleum Development Company is exploring oil.

“We also saw the impact of SPDC operations on people’s means of livelihood,” said Mr. Onyemaechi. 

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