Expert advocates community ownership of oil blocs

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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 he urged the federal government to restrict itself to “regulation and issue licenses to anybody that it considers as technically competent to explore crude oil and get its own share of the exploration through taxes.”

Prof. Masajuwa who is the dean, Faculty of Law, at Edo State University, Uzairue, stated this while delivering the 8th public lecture series of the institution entitled, “The Nigerian International Petroleum Industry: Conspiracy of Silence.”

He said, “Oil blocs should be owned by its rightful natural owners (communities). Licences 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.”

On the NDDC, she said it and the Oil Producing Areas Development Commission had failed due to the government’s alleged inability to alter the opportunities and incentives for rent seekers and allow for active community participation.

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