DELTA State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that the three per cent allocated to host communities from the operating cost of the oil companies, is unsatisfactory to the people of Niger Delta.
Okowa said this in Asaba on Tuesday. He spoke during a stakeholders interactive forum organised as part of the activities marking the 30th anniversary of creation of the state.
He said, “On the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 as assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, I commend the passage of the Bill but with reservations.
“We welcome the passage of the PIA but I must say that the three per cent allocated to host communities from the operating cost of the oil companies is unsatisfactory.
“We are convinced that the five per cent demanded by our state and other oil-producing states is fair, just and equitable in view of the ecological and environmental degradation that the host communities are exposed to from oil exploration.
“Thirty years ago, Delta State was born and given the prevailing political atmosphere at the time, its birth was, understandably, greeted with cautious optimism.
“Indeed, not a few were skeptical about the future of the new state, given its ethnic plurality and the initial feelings of disappointment among those who felt shortchanged in the process.
“But after 30 years of existence, it is gratifying to note that skepticism has given way to belief; despair has been replaced by confidence, and suspicion has succumbed to understanding and acceptance.
“I dare say that Deltans have come to live as one big, happy family and the state has continued to forge ahead in all indices of human, physical and economic development”
Okowa said that the forum would afford people the opportunity to reflect on the last 30 years, share experiences and chart a course for the future, recalling that due to political differences at that time, the creation of the state was greeted with cautious optimism.
He paid glowing tributes to his predecessors, late Chief Felix Ibru, Chief James Ibori and Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan for their immense contributions to the growth and development of the state.
On the health sector, he said that Delta became the first in the country to commence universal health coverage with no fewer than 950,000 enrollees under the scheme; the highest so far in the country, with 487 hospitals officially accredited to provide service.