By Chris Ochayi
Determined to sustain the relative peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta, the Presidency has waded in to resolve the misunderstanding between two factions of the oil and gas host communities, which led to exchange of blows during the public hearing organized by the House of Representatives on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
The conciliatory meeting, which was at the instance of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang. At the meeting, the aggrieved factions agreed to sheath their swords and present a harmonized position before the hearing committee.
The meeting also agreed that a joint technical committee of all contending parties facilitated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs would be constituted to prepare a common presentation at the next hearing of PIB.
Addressing the warring factions of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSTCOM and HOSCON, Senator Enang admonished both parties to set aside their differences and have common position for the purpose of the PIB.
He said: “We would request using the instrumentality of this Office for the House of Representatives and the Senate Committee, even in their committee session, to hear us present a harmonized position at the National Assembly – the Senate and House of Representatives.
“We have not invited you to settle any dispute but we have invited you to shake hands with each other and move on because in the Niger Delta, dispute and disputation is a regular feature so we are not settling dispute. “I know you people do not have dispute with yourself, you only agree and disagree on a procedure and the disagreement pass elbow to the ankle.”
Senator Enang decried a situation in which the oil companies divide the host communities, while sponsoring and putting fire on both sides. “They take the oil, desecrate the environment, abuse your children and your youths, give them instrument of self-destruction, and while we keep fighting and working, they keep clapping and taking our resources. “Under President Muhammed Buhari, this would not happen again, we would not be perpetually at war with ourselves, we have agreed to come together for the purpose of defending the interest of the entire community.
“So what I intend to do is to work with you, put you on the same page on issues conianed on the Host Communities Content of the Petroleum Industry Bill to enable you put up a unified presentation on what you want for the host communities for the bill to become law,” he added..