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 65 per cent ownership by the people of the Niger Delta region.
The lawmakers also condemned the criminal and nefarious activities of 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.
Rising from the first parliamentary session of the South-East and South-South Houses of Assembly in Owerri, Imo State, weekend, the lawmakers urged the accelerated passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“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 noted 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 lawmakers also condemned the criminal and nefarious activities of the so called herdsmen. “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 said”
Urging the youth to shun confrontation, violence and militancy in pressing for the redress of the zone, the legislators said:
“They must embrace dialogue and diplomacy and channel their grievances through various constituted platforms.”
They condemned kidnapping, hostage taking and bursting of oil pipelines in the region, but stressed that militants from the zones should be constituted into an officially recognized brigade for the protection of oil installations.