By Energy Worth
A Niger Delta group, the United Rivers and Bayelsa State Indigenous Association, Lagos Chapter, has charged the Federal Government to release the derivation components of the Excess Crude Act (ECA) to the oil producing states of the Niger Delta.
The group said just as the government deployed funds from the national pool to tackle Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, funds should also be released to address the environmental challenges in the Niger Delta in like manner.
The group, which stated this at the weekend during a world press conference in Lagos, also warned the Federal Government not to tamper with the 13 per cent derivation fund and ensure payment as and when due.
President of the association, Bob Ogoli, who spoke at the conference, said with the passage of the Petroleum Industrial Governance Bill (PIGB) at the National Assembly, the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum and Gas Resources should speedily conclude work on the segment of the bill that deals with the interest of oil producing host-communities to bring direct funding for their development.
In another development, Bayelsa State Government has taken positive steps to resolve the crisis that engulfed Amassoma community in Southern Ijaw Local Council of the state.
The state Governor, Seriake Dickson, who held meetings with various stakeholders, including the leadership of the community and the Governing Council of the Niger Delta University (NDU), expressed regrets over the sad incident and assured that the government would pick the bills of the injured and the burial expenses of the victims.
He said a formal delegation would also be sent to commiserate with the bereaved families while those detained by the police would be released.
The governor also stressed that efforts were on to ensure the reopening of NDU to resume academic activities as soon as possible.
Also, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and the Bayelsa Elders Council have both condemned in strong terms the violence, which erupted in Amassoma between protesters and security agencies.
The IYC, through its Central Zonal Chairman, Tare Porri, stated that the way and manner some persons lost their lives in Amassoma was disgraceful, regrettable and unpalatable as a people, as no Ijaw man will derive pleasure in death of his fellow Ijaw man.
The elders, in a communique jointly signed by the Chairman of the Council, Chief Francis Doukpola and Secretary, Lady Ann Yougha, at the end of a meeting in Government House, condemned the violence and urged early return of peace to the community.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Yusuf Buratai, has ordered the Nigerian Army Corps of Military Police, 6 Division Provost Group Headquarters in Port Harcourt to investigate the alleged torture of a leader from Ovwian community in Udu Local Council Delta State by soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, Effurun, Delta State.
It was learnt that the army chief issued the order following a petition by a law firm, Ikimi Oghenejabor & Co, on behalf of a community leader, Freedom Odiete, in Ovwian Town who on February 21, 2018 was allegedly assaulted, battered and tortured by soldiers of the battalion.