Discontent as NASS passes PIB bill after 12 years

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The National Assembly has passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) with 30 per cent of profits accruing from Oil and Gas operations by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) now to be set aside for exploration of oil in the frontier basins and three per cent of profit made by oil firms should be shared to host communities.

All exploration of frontier basins shall fall under the purview of the Upstream Regulatory Commission.

The report of the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum, which processed the bill, had proposed five per cent for host communities, while stakeholders had in the original bill proposed 10 per cent. But when the Senate began clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, it was reduced to three per cent.

The National President, Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), Chief Benjamin Tamanarebi, has said it was insulting for the Senate and House of Representatives to cede only three and five per cent equity shareholding respectively to the oil and gas producing communities in the PIB passed.

Tamanarebi said it is unacceptable to the host communities. “Imagine for over 63 years of neglect, deprivation and marginalization of the aborigines who have suffered untold hardship in the midst of wealth, for the first time after many years of agitation, asking for only 10 per cent equity shareholding and the NASS leadership is considering five per cent and three per cent, thinking they have done us a favour. This is unacceptable and we reject the offer.

Read Also: Senate to debate PIB report Thursday, says Lawan

“It is our sole right as the aborigines, it is our land and waterways. Why deny our rights to benefit, right to have a clean environment, right to have potable water to drink, good hospital, electricity and good roads? We will study other areas in the Bill to address it in due course,” he said.

Also, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has rejected the three per cent approval for the development of host communities by the Senate.

National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Ken Robinson, while reacting to the approval, said stakeholders in the region are waiting to see if President Buhari would ascent to the bill as approved by the Senate.

He said the government cannot transform the oil industry without transforming the communities in whose backyard the industry is operated.

“The region is the biggest victim of the fraudulent Nigerian Constitution we are using and the lopsided nature of the country. So, what played out today (yesterday) is what is playing out in every aspect of the country, particularly under this president.”