Reactions trail, Clark, INC, others knock PIB as passed

Written by on July 6, 2021

Mixed reactions yesterday 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 havr vowed to continuously deny the Ijawthe 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, MASSOB’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.

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