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Nlng Act: Reps Seek To Enforce 3% Contribution To Nddc

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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BEVERLY HILLS, March 21, (THEWILL) – The House of Representatives has declared support for the enforcement of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (fiscal incentives, guaranteed and assurances) Act, Cap. N87, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which recommends the remittance of 3 percent annual revenue into the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Fund.

This was during the debate on the NLNG Act, 2004, which scaled through second reading last week.

The fund from the NLNG is aimed at developing and tackling the various challenges caused by gas flaring and environmental pollution ravaging host communities across all oil producing states in the Niger Delta.

Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said that gas flaring has caused untold and unmeasurable environmental and health havoc on the people of the Niger Delta for many years and therefore became necessary to curb using available means as a matter of urgency.

“The bill seeks to prevent total degradation of the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region, which has extensively depleted its ecosystem over a long period of time,” he said.

“The only way we can solve this problem is to bring relevant amendments to the Act because our people have suffered so much and I said that it’s very important that we appreciate the enormity of the danger present in the region for us to act quickly and as a people, hold the NLNG responsible for unnecessary gas flaring using this amendment.

“The amendment to this Act is aimed at redressing the great injustice that the NLNG has meted to the people of the Niger Delta region for almost 27 years now.

“The oil and gas exploration activities of Shell, Agip, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and many other oil producing companies have caused serious environmental degradation to the region. Incessant oil pollution has destroyed the peoples farmland, the entire ecosystem destroyed, water seriously contaminated. Gas flaring has caused sickness of various degrees to indigenes of the area.

“To partly or completely rejuvenate the environment, the NDDC establishment Act, specifically section 14 (2)(b), stipulates that 3 percent of the total annual budget of any oil producing company operating onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta area, including gas processing companies like NLNG, shall pay the said percentage into the funds of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

“To my knowledge, the NLNG Limited has not contributed a kobo to the NDDC fund as required by the NDDC Act, 2000 for about 27 years of its operation in the region, despite the huge earnings it has made. This is great injustice and dis-service to the people of the Niger Delta region.

“Under corporate social responsibility (CSR), companies are supposed to positively impact on the environment where they operate to rejuvenate it and improve on the lives and well-being of indigenes of such areas,” Ogor said.

“The NLNG has continued to hide under the pretext that the Nigeria LNG (Fiscal incentives, Guarantees and Assurances) Act exempted it from such contributions or payments, we now know that it is right and just for it to make such payment, especially when they have enjoyed these incentives for more than 27 years.

“It’s important that we come to the rescue of the people of the region. It is on the basis of these injustice that I seek the amendment to the Fiscal Incentives Guarantees and Assurances Act.”

Adding his voice to the debate, Hon. Muhammed Sani Abdul, expressed optimism that on-going efforts to clean up the Niger Delta will be of benefit to the entire country.

“If the activities of oil companies are not curtailed and their excesses checked, nobody will have the face or a place to call a home as every inhabitable spaces would have been degraded and polluted for commercial gains as had been the case in the Niger Delta,” he said.

Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, in his ruling referred the bill to the House Committee on Gas Resources for further legislative inputs.

Story by David Oputah