The Host Communities of Nigeria producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCON), and Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Minerals and Natural Resources (HOSTCONMN) in Kogi, have appealed to the Federal Government to facilitate the establishment of modular refineries in the state.
The groups also called for the establishment of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Kogi State for job creation.
The HOSTCON Chairman in Kogi, His Eminence, Bishop Gabriel Simeon Ojoka, made the call when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, HRM Dr Ado Ibrahim at his palace in Okene.
Ojoka, who doubles as the Chairman HOSTCON, Northern States Area, commended former President Mohammed Buhari for declaring Kogi as Oil Producing State in 2021.
He said the essence of the visit to the royal father was on the discovery of crude oil in Okegwe in Kogi Central Senatorial District, and the way forward for the unity and development of Kogi communities.
The chairman emphasised that the meeting was to ensure serious deliberations on the participation of Ebira communities in the development of oil and gas in Kogi State.
Ojoka explained that the HOSTCON National Chairman, Dr Mike Emuh, for over 17 years had led the organization to various institutions, arms of government and traditional councils to advocate and educate the society on the provisions of the constitution regarding the placement and benefits of the host communities.
He solicited for the royal father’s support in publicity and advocacy through orientation and courtesy calls on traditional council meetings at the North Central, and Kogi Central Council to get their attention and involvement in communities’ participation.
Ojoka stressed that their slow participation in the programmes of HOSTCON had brought losses. He pointed out that the recruitment of pipeline security surveillance to protect the ongoing Ajaokuta, Kaduna, Kano Pipeline construction would have created jobs as well as benefited the Host communities if the opportunities were utilized.
According to him, HOSTCON Kogi has allocated 4,500 slots to recruit cadets for the protection of oil and gas pipelines and facilities within the state for the past five years. And yet with little or no interest in paying for the form let alone the cost for recruitment exercise,
“I therefore use this medium to solicit for communities’ participation in the recruitment exercise that will soon take place in our state,” Ojoka said.
He further requested for the royal father’s recommendation of a fifteen (15) man committee from the four of five organs of the administration such as: traditional arm, clergy, women wing, youth wing and the state executives.
He emphasised that the advocacy sensitization programme of HOSTCON and HOSTCONMN remained a great sacrificial input to conquer community conflict and ensure that marginalization of the host communities at various levels of government is prohibited.
“The Host Communities of Nigeria producing Oil and Gas Kogi State chapter (HOSTCON) should be gazetted into the State yearly budgetary allocation.
The HOSTCON chairman appreciated Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for his dogged input in ensuring that Kogi State was declared as Oil and Gas Producing State and for embracing HOSTCON programmes in the state
In his response, the paramount ruler said that the agitation for better welfare for the host communities producing minerals and natural resources was a long awaited achievement for him.