Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN) has urged oil-producing states to equitably distribute the 13 per cent oil derivation fund to the affected communities.
Its Chairman, Board of Trustee, Bishop Udo Azogu made the appeal yesterday at the group’s National Congress in Abuja.
Azogu noted that communities that bear the brunt of oil exploitation are left to face acute environmental degradation.
According to him, “We call on President Buhari to invoke his executive powers to halt open looting and diversion of oil mitigation programs by the political class. Failure to do so, Government should scrap the mitigation schemes that have only helped to sustain the tiny political class and gravely impoverished impacted communities.”
He added that “the association will build effective mechanisms to bring reprieve to aggrieved individuals and communities who are victims of criminal neglect by development agencies exploiting the Country’s huge natural resources.
“OMAPALAN condemned violence and killings in especially the north, and called on the government to carry out thorough investigation on the senseless bloodletting in solid mineral producing communities.”
He further stressed that “OMPALAN has produced a bottom-up blueprint called Mining Security and Monitoring Agency of Nigeria (MISMAN) to build synergy with the Federal government to facilitate access to democratic dividends by impacted communities and enthrone rule of law and halt illegal oil bunkering and vandalization of oil installations and equipment.”
Meanwhile, a former Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Prof. John Akanya also called for sustained growth in the solid mineral sector to boost the economy.
Akanya, noted that over dependence on crude oil has brought about adverse effect on the nation’s economy, while contributing to the unemployment crisis.
He said the unemployment crisis has led to worsening security situation in some parts of the country.