Nigeria to give 10 % oil revenue to Niger Deltans

Oct 19, 2009 02:00 AM

In order to stem the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government is planning to spend about $ 376.8 mm or about 10 % of its total income from oil to develop oil communities in the crisis-prone zone in the next budget year.
The government is mulling a plan to transfer 10 % of all oil and gas ventures to those living in the Niger Delta, which has been the site of numerous attacks by militant groups. If the plan scales through, "the communities would receive cash benefits, delivered through a trust-style mechanism, which they could use individually or pool for social projects... Officials believe the community stakes could be worth more than $ 376.8 mm in the first year".

The President's Special Adviser on Oil, Mr Emmanuel Egbogah, was quoted as saying that President Umaru Yar'Adua has backed the idea. Egbogah said the president intends to add the proposal to reforms that the government hopes to enact by the end of the year, which would also impose tougher terms on oil companies who are currently embroiled in a tortuous debate in parliament.
He further said the 10 % stakes would pay dividends on revenues after taxes and costs to communities, bypassing powerful governors of the eight oil-producing states who were instead calling for an increase in the extra share of petroleum revenues they already receive.

Meanwhile, the now repentant leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) who was standing trial for gun running before he was granted amnesty by the Federal Government, Mr Henry Okah, made a surprise visit to the Aso Rock to resume what sources said a dialogue with President Umaru Yar'Adua. The ex-militant leader who arrived at the Presidential Villa, according to sources was led straight to the office of the President where he was warmly received by the President before they began the dialogue.
It was not however clear whether the emergency meeting was convened in response to fresh threats of attack by MEND following the expiration of the ceasefire it earlier decaled. But sources at the presidency insisted that the visit which is at the instance of President Yar'Adua was part of the ongoing process of dialogue with various aggrieved groups especially former militant leaders.

According to our source, since the resumption of dialogue and negotiation, Mr Henry Okah has not been opportune to meet personally with President Yar'Adua.
"And this might just be one of such meetings because shortly he was released, he left for South Africa for medical check and as a result could not meet with the President". The Presidential Spokesman, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, confirmed the visit and said the meeting went well and that it was fruitful, saying that it was part of the confidence building process by the peace loving president.

Source / Leadership
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