By Dave Okpogadie, Asaba
A total of seven oil companies operating in the Niger Delta have remitted over $3.2 billion to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2014 and 2019.
Programme Officer, Energy, Extractives And Climate Justice, Policy Alert Organization, Mr Mfon Gabriel stated this in Asaba during a workshop for journalists on the Extractive Sector.
Mfon pointed out that the money represented three per cent of the annual budget of these companies which is mandatory for them to remit according to NDDC Act that stipulates that oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta must remit such.
He revealed that the statistics were received from NEITI which is in the business of ensuring accountability in the extractive industry.
While wondering how such money could not impact on the region, Mfon said it was disappointing to see the region in a terrible state of neglect over the years in spite of the huge amount of money that has accrued to NDDC.
He revealed further that the money could be more because the $3.2billion represented what only seven companies paid to the NDDC.
The seven companies according to him include Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Total and others
On the working relationship with Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), he remarked that NEITI being the Nigerian version of the global EITI has provided the data and statistics for them.
In his words, “More often than not, most of the statistics and data we use are supplied by NEITI.”
He added that NEITI monitors the activities of oil and gas companies and such reports collated by NEITI were very useful to all stakeholders in the sector.
Mfon revealed that the aims and objectives of his organization, Policy Alert, is to ensure accountability and to give the Communities information about the various funds remitted to them either the 13 per cent to Niger Delta states or the three percent remitted to the NDDC.
This, according to him, was done so that the people would be more equipped with facts and figures and also know who to hold responsible.
“The era of ‘we no go gree’ protest has gone. We want the community people to be able to have a constructive engagement with the government or the oil companies and by so doing, the people will have the maximum benefit of what is accruing to them from resources tapped from their backyard.”
The workshop, which was organised by Policy Alert, was aimed at refreshing journalists on investigating journalism in the extractive industry.