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PIA: 9 communities in S/South not benefiting from dev’t fund

The Accountability Lab (AL) Nigeria has stated that nine communities in Delta, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states need more attention regarding the implementation of the…

The Accountability Lab (AL) Nigeria has stated that nine communities in Delta, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states need more attention regarding the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the Host Communities Development Trust (HCDT) Fund.

In a statement, the Country Director of AL, Odeh Friday, said there were conflicts of interest in some cases as oil companies had chosen to work with benefit captors and in other cases traditional rulers.

He said, “Concerns also exist about individuals close to oil companies holding positions in the HCDT, raising questions about fair decision-making and potential conflicts of interest.”

He also noted the non-inclusion in the nomination process as several communities, including women, youths and People with Disabilities (PWDs), reported that diverse voices were excluded from the HCDT board.

He said, “Some communities do not know oil companies’ operating expenses in the Niger Delta, making it difficult to verify/validate the accuracy of their three per cent contribution to the HCDT Fund. There is a huge information gap between those nominated and inaugurated in the HCDT and stakeholders over the processes involved in the HCDT. This lack of transparency breeds mistrust and hinders effective development.”

He added that there was under-reported gas flaring by oil companies, resulting in lower penalty payments and reduced funds for environmental restoration.

He, therefore, called for transparency by publicly and proactively disclosing the operating expenditures of oil companies, HCDT Fund allocations and HCDT’s operations to facilitate compliance with the PIA and its regulations.

 

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