Clark, INC, others knock Petroleum Industry Bill as passed

By AdvocateNews on 06/07/2021

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Mixed reactions Monday trailed the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law by the National Assembly.

Afenifere, pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Ijaw National Congress (IJC) and Edwin Clark-led Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) faulted the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), describing it as a deception.

Afenifere Secretary Chief Sola Ebiseeni said the Bill is a bubby trap set to keep the South in subjugation and slavery, urging stakeholders to reject its provisions.

PANDEF described  the bill  as  “satanic, slavish and  a betrayal of the  lofty dreams of the people.”

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) Worldwide,  Urhobo Progress Union (UPU),  and the former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Chief Legborsi Pyagbara, said it is not too late to review its provisions.

But,  the Senator representing Cross River South District, Gershom Bassey, disagreed, saying the people of the Niger Delta were not shortchanged by the Bill.

The reactions of the Southern groups aligned with the resolution of the  Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF).

Rising from their meeting in Lagos, the governors, in their communique, said:”The forum  commends the National Assembly for the progress made in the passage of the PIB. It however,   rejects the proposed three percent and supports the five percent  share of the oil revenue to the host communities  as recommended by the House of Representatives;

“The  forum also rejects the proposed 30 percent share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins; However, the forum rejects the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited. The forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of government have stakes in that vehicle.”

Ebiseeni said it is wrong that 30 percent of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) revenue should be used to fund oil prospecting in the Northern basins, irrespective of whether there will be oil there or not.

He said the three percent allocated to the host community was grossly inadequate and unsatisfactory.

PANDEF  leader  Clark told reporters at a press briefing in Abuja that the bill is not in the interest of the Niger Delta.

Clark, who was represented   by  the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, also  said that 30 percent provided for further frontier oil exploration was fraudulent.

He added that the Niger Delta people have had    enough of  colonial oppression and ready  to  take their destiny in their hands by  denying International Oil Companies (IOCs) entry into the region, if  the National Assembly failed to reverse the passage of the  bill.

President of the  INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, who rejected the three/ five percent approved for host communities, said that anything short of 10 percent was unacceptable.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate statesmanship by refraining from signing the bill until the National Assembly approves  the 10 percent  for the host communities.

Okaba also called on the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, to stand    against those who have vowed to continuously deny the Ijaw the control and management of their God-given resources.

UPU  described the bill  as a betrayal of the aspirations of Niger Delta people as it  “turned out to be a pampered pregnant elephant that disappointedly delivered a mouse.”

It’s factional President-General, Chief Joe Omene, said  in a statement that  the Urhobo had since  rejected the three percent allocated to the oil-producing communities.

He said: “UPU notes also with concern, the provision that allocated a huge 30% of profits for further frontier oil exploration in the North.  This is a ploy to use NNPC to channel a huge 30% of oil proceeds to the North yet, host oil communities of Niger-Delta given  three percent.”

Also, MOSOP’s former  President Pyagbara said the PIB was a reinforcement of the malreatment of Niger Deltans, which must be totally rejected.

He also described as ridiculous and unacceptable what he called  the  lip service being paid to environmental protection in Nigeria..

Pyagbara said:” The condemnable PIB, perfected in satanic sanctums and dressed in the garment of legislation, in order to pave way for another wave of recolonisation of the Niger Delta and its people must be rejected by all Niger Deltans and their friends. It is time we rose up together as a people against the PIB.

“The federal lawmakers created a host communities’ fund, whose management, administration and membership are controlled by the oil companies, leaving people of the host communities without any real control over the fund.

“They intend to hold people of the host communities responsible for the vandalism of oil infrastructure and the punishment is that expenditure on such infrastructural repairs will be forfeited by the host communities from the fund. Whose responsibility is it to protect oil infrastructure?

“The biggest rape in the PIB is the so-called devotion of 30 percent of the profit of the  NNPC to oil exploration in frontier basins.”

But, Senator Bassey allayed the fear of  Cross River  State people that they may not be benefit from the percentage share set for host communities.

He said the definition of the host community is not only restricted to the areas of production activities, but includes areas and communities where pipelines pass through.

Posted 06/07/2021 06:41:38 AM


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