- The Nigeria federal government is planning to offer a 10 percent stake of gas and oil ventures to communities of the Niger Delta to end the long dragging militancy in the oil rich region.
Local reports said the proposal put forward by the government to legislators, could be a lasting solution to end rebellion in the Delta which has cost the Nigerian government millions and cut the country’s oil output by almost a quarter.
The proposal initiates that the Niger Delta communities would be given a 10 percent stake in the holdings of the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The stake is also expected reduce the level of poverty in the region and end militancy which has and continues to devastate the country’s oil and gas sector.
President Umaru Yar'Adua's special adviser on oil, Emmanuel Egbogah was reported saying the proposed reforms which are expected to be implemented by the end of the year, would also impose tougher terms on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta.
The offer would benefit all citizens of communities in oil-producing areas of the delta who would receive cash benefits, delivered through a trust-style mechanism which they could then pool for social projects.
The initiative is also expected to satisfy long-held demands from the delta's rebels, most importantly the country’s main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
MEND waged armed attacks, kidnappings and hijackings of vessels in the Niger Delta oil installation, demanding a fair share of the oil proceeds for local communities.
Reports have suggested that a number of militant groups in the region claiming to be fighting for a fairer share of the region's oil wealth, for local people, have resorted to abductions and are out to make money through ransom demands.
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