The South-East and South-South lawmakers have called on the Federal Government to review the ownership structure of oil wells in the country to allow for at least, 65 per cent ownership by the people of the Niger Delta region.
The South- South and South-East states Houses of Assembly stated this when they rose from their inaugural joint session at the weekend in Owerri, Imo state. The joint session had in attendance speakers and deputy speakers of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo states.
They held that contrary to the present ownership structure where less than 10 percent of the oil blocks are owned by their people, the South-East and South-South people should possess at least 65 percent of the oil wells.
They stressed that this would facilitate rapid development of the region as the region’s development, according to them, is being hindered by the present payment mode of derivative oil funds.
According to the lawmakers: “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 ecosystem and the economy on the other hand.”
“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 said.
They went on to urge the youth to shun confrontation, violence and militancy as a means of agitation for the redress of the zone, stressing that, “They must embrace dialogue and diplomacy and channel their grievances through various constituted platforms.”