Allocation of oil blocs to Niger Deltans, socio-economic development, security and restoration of peace in the region were part of the 16-point demand made by leaders of the Niger Delta region at a meeting with the Federal Government in Abuja Tuesday.
The leaders including governors, traditional rulers and other stakeholders said the exclusion of the owners of lands where oil resource is deposited in the allocation of oil blocs remained an impediment to the development of the region.
“The sense of alienation of Niger Delta from the resources of their land, will continue, until there are affirmative actions that guarantee the involvement of these communities in the ownership and participation in the oil and gas industry.
“We therefore, urge the Federal Government to enunciate policies and actions that will address the lack of participation as well as imbalance in the ownership of oil and gas assets.
“We similarly urge the institution of Host Community Content within the Nigerian Content Framework, across the entire enterprise chain of the petroleum and maritime sectors.”
“The incessant breaching and vandalism of pipelines, and oil theft, have taken direct tolls on oil production and supplies, with corresponding adverse effects on the economy of our dear country.
“Pipeline vandalism also damages the environment, health and economic activity of inhabitants of affected areas, as well as complicates environmental clean-up efforts.
“It is therefore our view that an urgent review be done to pipeline surveillance contracts to give the responsibility to communities rather than individuals in a manner that ties some benefits to their responsibility.
“Communities would then see their responsibility over the pipelines as protection of what belongs to them,” the leaders posited
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, former military administrator of old Rivers State and the Amanayabo of Twon- Brass, King Diette Spiff, said other demands contained in the document presented to President Buhari were the need for enforcement of the zero gas flaring deadline, approval for the take-off of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko in Delta State and award of pipeline surveillance contracts to the communities in the area.
He said the leaders demanded the immediate relocation of administrative and operational headquarters of International Oil Companies (IOCs) to the region. Most of the oil companies, he said, are not located in the Niger Delta.