PIB: Niger Delta leaders, stakeholders differ

*It’ll spark fresh agitations – HM Ayemi-Botu, Ogbonna

*Landmark of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration — Mrs Tatua

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South

STAKEHOLDERS  of Niger-Delta disagreed, yesterday, on some important provisions in the newly-passed Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly, as some leaders stated the measly three-five per cent equity share to host communities would trigger crisis in due course, while others said it was another landmark by President Muhammadu Buhari administration.   

Former National Chairman, Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, and Pere of Seimbiri Kingdom, Delta State, HM. Dr. Charles Ayemi-Botu, is among those who cautioned House of Representatives and Senate “should meet to harmonize the controversial and inconsistent percentages to a modest 10 per cent to allay fears of another round of crisis in the volatile Niger-Delta.”

But, Chairperson,    Niger Delta People’s Movement (NDPM), Mrs Ibifuro Tatua, leading a collection of Niger-Delta leaders, in a statement, Friday,    highlighted the gains of PIB, declaring the passage by the 9th  Nigeria National Assembly as a pointer to Nigeria’s path to greatness and development.

It‘ll generate tension – Monarch

HM Ayemi-Botu told Saturday Vanguard:  “It is a commendable effort by NASS to have passed the  PIB after several years of delay.

“From the onset of the initiation of the Bill, a modest 10 per cent was earmarked for the host communities to ameliorate the litany of resultant hazards accruing from oil exploitation/exploration by multinationals as well as indigenous oil companies for the past 65 years and the years to come.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Senate passes PIB, uproar in Senate over host communities fund

“Unfortunately the PIB was so politicized and unnecessarily dragged on until it was eventually passed with discrepancies by both Houses as to the percentage given to the host communities, i.e. 3 per cent and five per cent respectively, which has glaring bias that is unacceptable and a total disservice to the host communities, capable of generating tension in the region in the foreseeable future.

Host communities should be defined – Ogbonna, Itsekiri leader

Agreeing with the traditional ruler, Secretary, Warri Consultative Forum, WCF, Warri, Delta State, Comrade Amechi Ogbonna, warned that three per cent and five per cent equity shareholding separately approved for host communities would instigate inter-communal crisis in Niger-Delta region.

Ogbonna, an Itsekiri leader, told Saturday Vanguard: “Three – five per cent is not the solution to the underdevelopment in host community. This bill will lead to inter -community crisis, what measure do they want to use to identify the host community.”

“As for me, the Bill is a Trojan gift, even the 13 per cent derivation to oil states is nowhere to be found. The first thing is for the National Assembly to identify  the host community and to be included in the bill, if not, it is bloodbath,” added.

3% will resuscitate agitations— Cleric, activist   

National President, Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, CHURAC, Cleric E. Alaowei, Esq., in a statement, said: “The percentage approved for the beleaguered oil bearing communities as their equity share in the PIB passed by the Senate is not only demeaning, but an insult to the environmentally degraded host communities.

“What can 3 per cent do to  cushion the effects of the years of the degradation and despoliation of the ecosystem?

“When the Bill was introduced by Yar’Adua government at the time of the militants’ agitations for equity and fair share in the production quota, 10 per cent equity share was voted in then proposed Bill for the host communities. The same was one of the bargaining lines of discuss to lull the restive Niger Delta people.

  “The House joint committee should look into the danger in passing the Bill into law. Niger Delta people need nothing less than 10 per cent equity share as originally agreed.

“National Assembly should strive to consider the interest of the people, who bear the brunt in passing the PIB. 3 per cent will sure resurrect agitations in the region.

Mrs. Tatua –led NDPM frowned at the opposition, saying:  “It is another benchmark for ensuring transparency and accountability in the oil and gas industry. We see a country on the point of incredible achievement and advancement.”

In a statement in Port Harcourt, the leaders described the passage of the complete version of the PIB as another landmark of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

‘’It is a good development that is capable of yielding a beneficial outcome” the leaders said, commending the efforts of President Buhari, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and 9th National Assembly lawmakers in repositioning of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

“This is another benchmark set in Nigeria, in a crucial sector that is key to Nigeria’s economic growth and stability,” they said.

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