The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, on Thursday lambasted governors of the oil rich region as well as oil companies operating in the area.
According to Enang, the governors of the Niger Delta region have been unkind to the residents of their various states by consistently diverting the 13 per cent derivation funds meant for the development of the area to unjustifiable ventures.
The special adviser also stated that oil companies such as Agip, Shell, Mobil, etc, seem to have conspired in ensuring that the Niger Delta communities were impoverished by way of dividing citizens in the region.
Enang said this at a webinar on ‘Resolving the host communities question’, organised by the OrderPaper in partnership with the House of Representatives’ Committee on Niger Delta and the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter.
He said, “The governors have not been kind to the Niger Delta. I want to pray that the National Assembly should amend the Niger Delta Development Commission Act and the constitution so that the 13 per cent derivation does not go to the governors.
“It should go to the host communities and targeted at development of these communities. This is because the governors use the 13 per cent derivation to buy aircraft.
“They use the money to develop and build many houses. These monies are found in Banana Island and foreign countries.”
He urged participating lawmakers at the webinar to find legislative means whereby these monies could be used for the development of communities in the Niger Delta.
On oil companies, the special adviser stated that the firms had abandoned most communities in the region and were now investing elsewhere.
He said, “Stakeholders in the Niger Delta should be interested in seeing that investments do not go away from the region. For instance, one of the biggest refineries that the country would see soon is now being built in Lagos, not in the Niger Delta.
“The people of the Niger Delta would be deprived of the downstream content. We are also constructing the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline.”
Enang also faulted the activities of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, stressing that the NCDMB was veering off its mandate.
He said, “Our legislators should look at the application of the local content act because the act is now focusing on big capital projects instead of looking at the local communities in oil areas.
“Let the committee on the Niger Delta look at the NCDMB Act and the NCDMB, headed by Simbi Wabote; it is almost veering out of purpose and is not working for the development or management of local content in oil producing areas. Let it return to the mandate for which it was created.”