A former Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs in Bayelsa State, Dr. Felix Tuodolo, at the weekend said it is not out of place for host communities in the Niger Delta to manage their funds if it is directly allocated to them.
The Pioneer President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), who spoke to newsmen in Yenagoa, insisted that host communities have the capacity to manage their funds.
Tuodolo, reasoned that since the host communities are directly affected by the hazardous and toxic effects of oil exploration and exploitation activities, it puts them in a better position to manage their funds.
He stressed that having suffered greatly from environmental degradation which had for years affected their health, economic and social well-being, they know how to use every dime appropriated to them for the benefit of their people.
Tuodolo who was speaking on the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), also declared support for a bill seeking to transfer the management of the 13 percent derivation funds to the host communities.
He stressed that the host communities have continued to suffer deprivation and extreme poverty, while the benefits from their natural resources are appropriated by state government.
The ijaw leader who condemned plot by some northern legislators to scrap the 13 percent derivation, pointed out that the 1999 Constitution as amended provides for at least 13 percent which implies that it can only be reviewed upwards.
He added that the position of the Niger Delta people has always been 100% Resource Control which has not changed and will not changed.
“It is not out of place for host communities to manage what is derived beneath their soil because they bear the direct brunt of oil exploration and exploitation activities.
“If the bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow for direct payment of the 13 Percent Derivation to oil-producing communities is passed into law, the communities will not need an intermediary.
“The goose that lays the golden eggs deserves better, yet, their lack and poverty speak so loud for the deaf to hear even as their benefits from their natural gift from creation is shared by the states.
“The constitution provides for at least 13 percent which is to say that it can only be reviewed upwards and the position of the Niger Delta people has always been 100 percent and full resource control, and that has not changed”, he opined.