THE Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria, (OMPALAN) has urged the Federal Government to checkmate diversion of funds by Niger Delta state governments and interventionist agencies to the grassroots.
National president of the body, Bishop UdoAzogu, made the call at the Oil and Solid Mineral Conference held recently at Wellington Hotel, Effurun, Delta State, during which the state chapter and executive committee of the body were inaugurated.
Bishop Azogu, who congratulated President MuhammaduBuhari on his recent victory at the just concluded presidential election, urged him to ensure that funds meant for local governments were not diverted in order to bring about the desired development to the grassroots.
“We want the FG to intervene pro-actively with a view to giving the desired impetus to local governments to enable them fill the gap in governance and enjoy the flexibility of delivering the goods to the locals unshackled, free from the stiffening strangulation by the state governments,” he noted.
He added that the current stiffening condition of the local government had also stiffened the base of democratic participation and leadership at the grassroots, thus making a mockery of the nation’s hard-earned democracy.
Bishop Azogu further, ‘’welcomes the recent decision by President Buhari to revoke the licences of oil blocs conceded by previous administrations to individuals and organisations,’’ noting that such concessions were counter-productive as they had not added value to the lives of the locals whom, he said, ‘’bear the brunt of acute environment degradation through oil and solid mineral exploration and exploitation.’’
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to look into the persistent misappropriation and rampant diversion of deliverables that accrued from robust federal government mitigation schemes running into trillions of Naira annually from NDDC, 13 percent oil derivation fund commission, ecological fund and ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and should ensure that the palliatives released from the top got to communities.
He also urged the FG to ensure that companies and agencies exploring oil, solid mineral complied strictly to corporate social responsibility to host communities.
He charged the newly inaugurated committee to uphold the tenets, vision and mission of the association, which he said, stood as the bridge between government and stakeholders in the oil and solid mineral industry and the host and impacted communities in the state.