By Evangelist.com.ng edition, Saturday, November 18, 2023. Admin.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, has called on oil host communities in the Niger Delta to maximize the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act, (PIA) especially in establishing their Host Communities Development Trust.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa stated this in his remarks during a sensitization on strengthening civil actors’ awareness and capacity for local engagement held on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
Represented by Chinedu Bassey, the programme Manager of CISLAC, the Director regretted that oil host communities remained ignorant about the provisions of the PIA, its regulations, as well as the processes of establishing their Trusts, noting that such could deprive them the privilege of accessing benefits from petroleum operations for a sustainable development of their communities.
He, however, called on the Media, Civil Society Organisations and Community Based Organizations to embark on intensive awareness to communities on the provisions of the PIA.
“Oil communities remain largely under-informed about the provisions of the PIA, its regulations and the processes for establishing their Trusts, without which they cannot take ownership towards advancing sustainable prosperity within their communities and derive direct social and economic benefits from petroleum operations,” he said.
He revealed that from the report of the Host Communities of Nigeria, for over two years of the enactment of the PIA, only 76 Development Trusts have been registered, while only 38 of the accounts have been funded.
Presenting a paper on “Identifying Challenges and Opportunities in Advancing Establishment of Trust and Associated Structures,” the Senior Project Officer (SPO) of Stakeholder Democracy Network, Dr Samuel Agboola noted that communities should be acquainted with how to validate what they are being owed and the funds that should be due to their Human Capital Development Trusts.
He also reasoned that since the audited accounts of Oil and Gas Companies are not generally published, it would be difficult for the communities to independently verify that companies are contributing what is due in the Trust.
Agboola, while calling for transparency and efficient management of the Trust by members of host communities, harped on their collaboration with the settlors for effective community development delivery. (Source: Daily Post).