…Say over 20 years of existence, nothing good has come out of NDDC
By Ebi Perekeme
Host Communities of oil producing states have called on the federal government to scrap the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The communities recommended a new commission in place of the NDDC to be called Host Communities Development Commission.
They said in its over 20 years of existence, nothing good has come out of NDDC neither have the communities been positively impacted by it.
The president of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), Benjamin Tamaranebi, made the call in an interview with journalists during the second day of the public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The event, which started on Monday, witnessed oil producing companies, marketers and other major stakeholders stating their observations as well as recommendations for the legislation.
Mr Tamaranebi was explaining how previous interventions set up by the federal government in the past have yielded little or no result, adding that it would be best to scrap the NDDC.
“These funds do not get down to the communities. It has always been hijacked by political groups or parties,” he said making reference to the 2.5 per cent equity share holding proposed in the PIB for the communities.
It was reported how the group rejected the proposed 2.5 per cent as they demanded 10 per cent.
“NDDC is there, amnesty is there, there is even the Ministry of Niger Delta established by Yar’Adua. All these interventions are not significant to the communities,” Mr Tamaranebi said.
“The communities are still in a deplorable form. No development, no light. Imagine a place where billions of dollars are being pumped out and there’s no light, no health centre, nothing.”
When asked if he wants the commission to be scrapped, he responded in the positive.
He said, “To be frank and sincere, that is my wish because they are not performing. NDDC has been there for about 20 years and nothing of good importance has been impacted in communities through it.
“Then why do you keep it there. Scrap it and form Host Communities Development Commission – where host communities will come in and that is the basis.
Let our people, whom we trust, handle it. If you’re not doing well, we’ll hold you responsible for it.”
He further blamed the federal government for gas flaring in the region, which he said is slowly killing residents of the state.
”If these funds are directly given to the host communities…we know our pains, every community knows what to do and that’s what we will do,” he added.