Stakeholders in Akwa Ibom State oil producing communities have identified nepotism as key factor hindering successful functioning of Host Communities’ Development Trust.
This was made known during one-day sensitisation engagement on strengthening civic actors’ awareness and capacity for local engagement on oil host community development in Uyo on September 14, 2023.
Speaking during the event, one of the stakeholders from Esit Eket local government area, Hon. Emem Edoho revealed that the trust in his area has been reduced to a political affair where those appointed and selected to benefit are mainly affiliates of the political party in power.
He also decried a situation where people from one tribe are those making up the trust while people from other tribes are not carried along.
Edoho emphasized that for the Host Community Development Trust to be successful, people must shun political sentiment and nepotism.
Collaborating the story, a woman leader in the area, Lady Apostle Cecilia Ikot, recounted how women are neglected in setting up the Host Community Development Trust in Esit Eket.
She recalled instances she was arrested, harassed because of her constant advocacy on the issue.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Executive Director Civil Society Legislative Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) represented by the Programme Manager, CISLAC Chinedu Bassey noted that oil host communities remain largely under-informed about the provision of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), its regulations and the process for establishing their Trusts.
He noted that the essence of the sensitization engagement was to strengthen knowledge of CSOs working within the extractive sector on the provision of the PIA as they pertain to Host Community socio-economic welfare; strengthen alliance towards intensifying our efforts and improving the quality of outcomes; and mobilise a critical mass of citizens in building and amplifying of host communities around contents and improvement of host community welfare.
“The proposed activity thus seeks to leveragea community of civic actors, CSOs, CBOs and media alike, to harmonize efforts in ramping awareness for communities towards collectivising and improving the quality of outcomes and impact in the interests of the communities we serve.
“The engagement intends to establish what has been done and what needs to be done, with a view to developing an agenda for onward action on how it could be done.”
The sensitisation engagement featured breakout session on developing collaborative line of action and paper presentation by Mrs. E.D.Ufondu-Director, Host Community, NUPRC; Mfon Gabriel-Executive Director, Well of Science Foundation (WSF), and Jude Samuelson-Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN).
The sensitisation was organised by Civil Society Legislative Centre (CISLAC), the national chapter of Transparency International in Nigeria, on behalf of the Accountability in Extractive Sector (AES) Cluster within the framework of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project implemented by Palladium with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).