Nigerians living with disabilities have asked the federal government to earmark 5 percent of oil projects and activities for their members in the Host Community Development Trust Fund prescribed in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
The Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Mr. David Anyaele made the plea in a press release on the sideline of the public hearing on the bill at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that oil explorations in the Niger Delta region were done to the detriment of their members who benefit nothing from the activities.
Anyaele said that their members were greatly affected by issues of pollution amongst others.
He said: “We thank the leadership of the House of Representatives, in particular the Chairman House Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill for the opportunity to present our position on the PIB Bill.
“CCD believes that PIB provides an uncommon opportunity to write the wrongs against persons with disabilities in the Niger Delta
“Observation shows that oil and gas explorations in Nigeria are conducted at the detriment of persons with disabilities
“We are concerned that virtually all the support given to host communities because of oil and gas explorations are not accessible to persons with disabilities and they are not consulted, neither are their issues mainstreamed in the conversation.
“We are worried that when pollution occurs in the Niger Delta, it is people with disabilities that suffers most.
“Painfully, the activities and contaminants being pushed into the environment as a result of oil and gas explorations in the Niger Delta region, sometimes leads to stillbirth and birth with a different form of disability (hearing disorder, blindness, physically challenged, etc.)”
“Therefore, It is justice for all to demand that the Bill for an Act to provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigeria Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Community and other Related Matters (HB.1061) provide a certain percentage of not less than 5% of projects and activities should therefore be set aside for the benefit of persons with disabilities in the Host Community Development Trust Fund.”
The group proposed some amendments to some clauses provided in the bill.
“CCD proposes the amendment of the following sections in the Bill to read as follows:
“242: (a) Settlor shall ensure that members of the Board of Trustees are inclusive of women and persons with disabilities
“247. (a.i.b) three representatives, women, the person with disabilities inclusive of the Host Community, who shall be nominated by the Host Community as non-executive members.
“251. 3(a.i.b) consulted with and considered the reasonable concerns of women, youths, persons with disabilities, and Community leaders
“252. We request that you add (h) to read as follows: Ensure that all initiatives are inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities”, he said.
Vanguard News Nigeria