*Ekpoudom carpets N-Delta lawmakers
*NACCIMA president commends passage of bill
By Dapo Akinrefon, Ochuko Akuopha & Harris Emanuel
NDOKWA National Youth Movement, NNYM, Sunday, described the three per cent equity participation allotted host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, passed by the National Assembly as a coup against the people of Niger Delta.
This came as Urhobo Youth Leaders’ Association, UYLA, warned that unless the National Assembly ensured that the multinational companies give the host communities a fair share of the profits made from the oil and gas, conflicts in Niger Delta might persist.
Also, a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police, DIG, Udom Ekpoudom, has taken lawmakers from the oil-rich states of the country to the cleaners over the PIB, which he noted fell short of expectations.
In another development, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, President, Ide Udeagbala, has welcomed the passage of the PIB.
President of UYLA, Chief Anthony Onoriode Ofoni, who commended the National Assembly for the “boldness and courage to pass the much-awaited PIB, said: “The host communities in Niger Delta had always demanded 10 per cent equity participation, as against the three per cent just passed by the lawmakers.
“The lawmakers should make provision for upward review from the five per cent to 10 per cent as soon as possible.”
Coup against N-Delta—NNYM
Meanwhile, NNYM, in a statement by its Secretary-General, Presley Idi, said: “While tracking the progress of the bill, our major concern was centred on the host community trust funds, initial proposals saw it pegged at 10 per cent, but after review by the committee set up, five percent was finally agreed.
“However, to our greatest surprise, upon the passage of the bill, we learnt that the host community trust fund has been further slashed to a mere three per cent, with a whopping 30 percent introduced for what they termed ‘frontier exploration,’ This, we see as a coup against the people of Niger Delta and we will resist totally.
“Over time, our people have continued to suffer from the effects of oil exploration in the region without any form of adequate compensation, instead of National Assembly using this golden opportunity to correct this anomaly, they instead chose to short change us the more and this we will not accept.
“For the sake of the continuous peace in the region, we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari not to assent to the bill when it’s sent to him because doing so will cause serious chaos and uproar that may destabilise the entire Niger Delta.”
Isoko youths condemn lawmakers’ action
Similarly, the Isoko National Youth Assembly, INYA, condemned the “action of the lawmakers in allocating a mere three per cent to host communities that are bedevilled by the environmental effects of crude oil exploration/exploitation and gas flaring.
INYA President, Amos Etaluku, urged the lawmakers to “still tinker with the bill with a view to reviewing upward the allocation to host communities. If the lawmakers failed to do the needful, President Buhari should refuse his assent to the bill as presently passed.”
Ekpoudom carpets N/Delta lawmakers
Ekpoudom, a chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, said: “If you are from the area affected, you can’t be happy.
“If you go to a place like Rivers State, you can’t wash your clothes and put them outside because within one hour they become charcoal and they went and approved only three per cent.
‘’As such nobody from Niger Delta, including myself is happy. The only solution is that the National Assembly should adjust it and make it meaningful. They shouldn’t take us for a ride.
‘’I don’t know if our lawmakers were sleeping. We should be mindful of those we send to the state and National Assemblies. We shouldn’t send people who are going to look for money only and come back. We should send people who love their areas and this country.’
NACCIMA President commends passage of bill
Udeagbala expressed hope that the passage of the Bill would bring the much-awaited and needed reform of the Nigerian oil and gas sector for improved involvement of the Nigerian private sector and improve the confidence of foreign investors, who have complained of lack of clear appropriate legal framework in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
He said all stakeholders must now work concertedly to ensure that the bill improves the life of the host oil communities and ensure sustainable development of the environment in the oil-producing areas.
He reassured that NACCIMA, which has been involved and closely followed the process of passage of the bill, would work with all stakeholders to ensure the radical changes contained in the bill were effective.
Added that this will make the bill become a historic legal framework for the transformation of the oil sector with a positive effect on the nation’s economy, the energy sector and expands employment opportunities and well-being of the people.