The South-East and South South lawmakers have called on the FG to review the ownership structure of oil wells in the country to allow for 65% ownership by the people of the Niger Delta region.
While speaking from the first parliamentary joint session of the South-East and South-South Houses of Assembly in Owerri, the Imo State capital over the weekend, the lawmakers have called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to review the ownership structure of oil wells in the country.
The South-East and South-South lawmakers urged the president to allow for 65% ownership by the people of the region in order to facilitate massive development in the oil rich Niger Delta.
According to them: “The people of the Niger Delta region should possess at least 65 per cent of the oil wells contrary to the present ownership structure where less than 10 per cent of the oil blocks belong to our people,” they said, noting that the region’s development is being hindered by the present payment mode of derivative oil funds.
“There is an urgent need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to put in place adequate machinery that would ensure direct payment of derivative oil funds into the hands of Niger Delta benefiting communities,” the principal officers and members of the Houses of Assembly in the region said.
The lawmakers also condemned the criminal and nefarious activities of the Fulani herdsmen and called for the establishment of special task force drawn from the various security agencies and Neighbourhood Watch in each local government area to checkmate the excesses of herdsmen and prosecute them.
“Legislators of the Houses of Assembly in the South-South and South East can no longer watch helplessly as our region drifts aimlessly while our people walk the razor edge under the strain of impoverishment, environmental degradation, insecurity and uncertainty on the one hand and the destruction of oil/gas installations and the attendant consequences including their impact on the eco-system and the economy on the other hand.”
They urged the youth to shun confrontation, violence and militancy in pressing for the redress of the zone. “They must embrace dialogue and diplomacy and channel their grievances through various constituted platforms.”
The legislators, who called for more proactive measures to address the activities of herdsmen, restated their commitments to pass bills restricting cattle rearing, prohibiting grazing of cattle from one location to another through farmlands thereby causing damages to farm lands, health hazards and obstruction of vehicular and human traffic.
The lawmakers while attributing the defective and harsh socio-economic environment, lack of employment opportunities, lack of empowerment for the youth, environmental degradation and inadequate benefit of the resources from the region, rejected the proposed bill to establish and control grazing routes and reserves before the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly.