Why we oppose Petroleum Industry Bill – Northern Senators

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Abuja - The Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Sen. Bukar Abba-Ibrahim (ANPP-Yobe) said on Monday in Abuja that the North was opposed to the Petroleum Industry Bill because of its lopsidedness. 

Abba-Ibrahim, who stated this at an interactive session with journalists, said that the clause in the PIB, which was asking for additional 10 per cent revenue for oil producing communities was unacceptable.

 “Derivation is only one out of seven sources of revenue for the oil producing states. They have the Federal Government’s take home, the NDDC with over N500 billion being projects only in oil producing communities.

 “They also have the Niger Delta Ministry with over N400 billion Federal Government grants in the name of amnesty and oil companies doing social corporate responsibility.’’ According to him, adding another 10 per cent to the already existing revenue generators for the zone was unfair. 

“Adding another 10 per cent to all these seven sources, I don’t know how you are going to have peace where resources allocations are so skewed to one side and unfair.’’ 

He said this addition in the PIB was unacceptable and suggested that the money should go into the treasury so that every Nigerian could benefits from it. 

“Nobody planted or farmed oil, it is God, who put it there and it will not last forever. “It will get to a point where the oil will finish and another natural resource will come up and every Nigerian will benefit from it.’’ 

The lawmaker added that the North was also opposed to the PIB because of its failure to make provision for the exploitation of other minerals all over the country. 

“We have over 800 million tonnes of limestone in Gulane, Fune and Guljimba local governments of Yobe, but as a state government, you cannot go and exploit, it has to be Federal Government.’’ 

He is, however, optimistic that the bill when passed, would sanitise the Petroleum Industry and address the issue of corruption in the sector. 

Speaking on the current security challenge in the country, Abba-Ibrahim said that although dialogue might not be the only solution, it remained the best solution.

 “To me, dialogue is not the only solution, but it remains the best solution. I am not saying it is the only solution because there are many ways to solve it but I believe that dialogue remains the best.” 

He said that himself and four others were named as observers in the negotiations between the Boko Haram sect members and the Federal Government, but that the sect members still remained faceless. 

Abba-Ibrahim, who was a former governor of Yobe, decried the marginalisation of the North East zone, which he said, was one of the largest geo-political zones in the country. 

He said the marginalisation had led to the backwardness of the zone, which was currently battling seriously with the issue of desertification and poverty. 

While acknowledging that no particular leader could be blamed for the backwardness of the zone, he appealed to Nigerians to help proffer solutions to the problems of the region. 

“The South East had their problems and it was resolved, the South-South also had their marginalisation problems resolved, so we hope that Nigerians would also help find solutions for the North East zone. 

Speaking on education, he urged the president to summon the political will and courage to declare free and compulsory education up to secondary school level nationwide in 2013. (NAN)

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