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NON-REMITTANCE OF 3% ANNUAL OPERATIONAL EXPENDITURE TO OIL AND GAS HOST COMMUNITIES TRUST FUND IS NOT ACCEPTABLE-HON. ENGR. VICTOR OBUZOR MNSE DSSRS

NON-REMITTANCE OF 3% ANNUAL OPERATIONAL EXPENDITURE TO OIL AND GAS HOST COMMUNITIES TRUST FUND IS NOT ACCEPTABLE-HON. ENGR. VICTOR OBUZOR MNSE DSSRS

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NON-REMITTANCE OF 3% ANNUAL OPERATIONAL EXPENDITURE TO OIL AND GAS HOST COMMUNITIES TRUST FUND IS NOT ACCEPTABLE-HON. ENGR. VICTOR OBUZOR MNSE DSSRS

Honourable Engineer Victor Chukwuemele Obuzor was born in the year 1977, an Indigene of Odiokwu Community in Ahoada-West Local Government Area of Rivers State. A member of House of Representatives in the National Assembly, elected 2023 and represents Ahoada-west/ Ogba-Egbema- Ndoni, Federal constituency. As regards the motion he proposed on the 17th of October 2023, had an interview with Nassnews correspondents in his office.

Nassnews: May we meet you hon. for the sake of those who don’t know you?

Hon. Victor: I am Honourable Victor Chukwuemele Obuzor. My basic discipline is electrical electronic engineering, I am from Rivers State and I represent Ahoada west/ Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni, Federal constituency.

Nassnews: What motivated you to come into politics?

Hon. Victor: Basically to address matters of injustice from the law-making point of view. There is a lot of loopholes that people capitalize on, to commit atrocities and get away with it. Injustice is a painful thing, when people are irrationally treated in all perspective, from wealth sharing to peoples right been trampled on. So going into law making as a legislator enables me to make certain laws or amend existing laws, carrying out oversight functions as well as addressing these pressing issues from the root cause. So, yes, that’s what drove me into politics.

Nassnews: Honourable, you made a motion about the remittance of the 3% annual operation expenditure, So what instigated this motion?

Hon. victor: The people need a voice. They need their voice to be heard and so need someone to speak on their behalf. For 2 years now, since the PIA was signed into law by the past president Mohammed BUHARI, the Petroleum Industry Act has collapsed every other form OF MOU or agreements the host communities had signed with all these International Oil Companies. Their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the agreements and all that, which are basically aimed at improving their livelihood in one way or the other. Every year they have a certain grant or a certain project or they have an agreement for their indigenes to get employed or getting scholarships which is what the Memorandum of Understanding is all about. There should be a memorandum of understanding between the host communities and the company as well as full adherence to their agreements but It was invalidated by the Petroleum Industry Act , so in other words, the only thing that was allocated to them is 3% Of the operational expenditure of the international company operating in that community, and since the Petroleum Industry Act was established and passed into law which became operational 2 years ago, the host communities have not received anything into their fund. There was suppose to be a trust fund created by the oil companies which is their sole responsibility and as well create a FUND account where the money should be paid. Currently, 2years is gone and no one was held responsible for it. The old/existing Memorandum of Understanding was considered invalid, hence no fund to utilize in developing and addressing their needs. The Nigerian Upstream, Petroleum Regulatory Council responsible for ensuring that the instructions given by the Petroleum Industry Act, the laws, and rules are adhered, gave International Oil Companies an ultimatum, they had a press conference on the 2nd of September during which 30th of December was giving as a deadline to the International Oil Companies to pay up which they failed to comply for reasons best known to them and of course people are suffering due to their negligence. These people are angry, feeling cheated and are agitating to send a message to the Federal Government of their plight.
We at the National Assembly has decided to take up the matter and follow it up to a logical conclusion to ensure that full compliance is achieved.

Nassnews: What are the basic things you feel this funds will do for your constituency?

Hon. Victor: It’s not just about my constituency but for every host community. There are over 6300 communities that host the oil and gas companies, that is, the International Oil Companies, so it is for Nigeria in general. There are corporate social responsibilities of these oil and gas companies which they owe their host communities, and there are things that the host community need that these International Oil Companies can fund. So prior to this time, there are ways of engaging these companies and getting them to carry out certain beneficial projects like water schemes, agricultural schemes and so on. The fund allocated to these communities is meant to be addressing some needs of these communities, empowering their youths, equipping their existing schools, equipping their clinics or hospitals, helping out with reparation works on short distance bad roads, some industry even offers the community electricity. If the Petroleum Industry Act has scrapped these MOU that secure these services, then the Trust fund is of utmost importance to the community.

Nassnews: All right hon. We would like to know your agenda for your constituency?

Hon. Victor: My agenda is a lot although I am fresh out of private practice and just 4 to 5 months old as a legislator. The basic thing that i owe my constituency as their lawmaker is to dedicate my time into scrutinizing the already existing laws and amend where necessary for the benefits of my constituency. There are laws that undermines the people’s fundamental human rights, laws that restrict the easy flow of things, when the law hinders rather than aids the flow of things, as a law maker we should be able to amend such laws and make it suitable, then in terms of abandoned projects, we oversight, and ensure such projects are executed by making sure the government takes proper action. A legislator is like a guardian angel, as a legislator i guard my people against abuse of any kind and bully from who ever, be it the executives. My people are vulnerable, so i have to be there for them by spending my time to appraise their needs, define their needs and see how to help meet the needs.

Nassnews: So Sir, so far so good. How many bill and motion have you proposed in favour of your constituency?

Hon. Victor: For me is not how many motion I have proposed so far, but how many was successful. We have about 360 members, and everyone of us have the right to propose as many bills and motions as possible. I personally have 10 motions in waiting, and so do others. I also have 4 bills moved already and about 4 outstanding bills I really want to push through. So here, bill and motion takes turn in order to ensure it goes round, it is rationed so that everyone will present theirs. But for urgent matters, there is a standing law that can be used to step down the rules and then present the urgent motion. So we are doing good, we are working for our people and we hope by the grace of God, we would make the impactful change that we so desire.

Nassnews: What advice do you have for Nigerians?

Hon. Victor: There is royal rumble everywhere. My advice is for us to be more patriotic. There are certain actions of ours that will escalate issues not meant to be escalated, we need to be at peace with the new government, we need to give it a chance to put their thoughts, ideas, and vision to work, without distraction from our end. Nigerians should be supportive, let us aid the development of this country from our heart not for our selfish interest.
Here is my advice for the youth, youths should think before acting, they should avoid been in a haste, they should learn to be peaceful and present their matters through appropriate channels. They should not just believe anything they hear about the government unless been presented with cogent evidence, because most of these rumours are propagandas to turn the minds of the citizens against each other.

Nassnews: Can you score the government?

Hon. Victor: 100 days is very slim for an accurate judgement. Personally, my own appraisal includes all the parameters surrounding the progress of the government so far, with all the distractions, the attacks meted out on them on a daily basis, so you will understand that the government does not have enabling space to perform but yet it strives to achieve a lot. Firstly, I will commend the executive cabinet selections of his Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at-least 85% out of the entire selection are productive. The likes of the FCT Minister, Minister for Transport, the newly appointed EFCC chairman and so on. I cannot score the government now because I understood it is a gradual process, and all protocol will be duly observed to get to the desired goal.

Currently, it is still at a stage which is totally welcomed. He already started off well, so hopefully by December there will be visible achievements to score. In as much as some of the decisions are telling on Nigerians like subsidy removal and all but it is for the good of the country, the country needs the money to clear off debts, try to set up our refineries and so on.

That is my own take on the fuel subsidy and i really wish it was not something we have to face. The sad reality is that we have to face it now to enjoy tomorrow. No pain, No gain.

Thank You!
BY:LUCKY KENEDY

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