Don advocates community ownership of oil blocs

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By Patrick Ahanor, Benin City.

A university lecturer, Prof. Florence Masajuwa, has called for the scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other related agencies for alleged failure to end poverty and endemic conflicts in communities.

This was just as the don urged the federal government to restrict itself
only to “regulation and issue licenses to anybody that it consider as technically competent to explore crude oil and get its own share of the exploration through taxes”.

Prof. Florence Masajuwa who is the Dean, Faculty of Law at the
Edo State University Uzairue stated this while delivering 8th public lecture series of the institution.

The lectur was titled: “The Nigerian International Petroleum Industry: Conspiracy of Silence”

According to him, “Oil blocs should be owned by its rightful natural owners (communities). Licenses can be given to anybody to explore the bloc but the community must retain their natural statutory 50% shareholding/ownership right of the exploration profit.

“Their 50% royalty should be their inalienable rights and the royalty must be managed by an elected community based government, this way, communities take charge of their development, then there will be no need for PIAs, host communities 3% and the 13% derivation fund.”

The varsity don said the NDDC and Oil Producing Areas Development Commission have failed due to alleged government’s inability to alter the opportunities and incentives for rent seekers and allow for active community participation.

The lecturer further stated that “lack of transparency and the use of the revenue for the good of the industry and leaving out the host communities amounts to conspiracy of silence which often disturbs generations”.