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Edwin Clark, an Ijaw national leader and former Federal Commissioner for Information and the leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has described the passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as “satanic, unjust and embarrassing”.
The PIB which has faced criticism in social discourse since it was mooted over 20 years ago was passed into law on Thursday,
Highlight of the law says the host communities would get 3% operating expenditure of oil firms to host communities, while 30 percent of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) profit from oil and gas should be used to fund exploration of frontier basins.
Commenting on the law which has stirred backlash, Clark, who is also the South-South and Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) leader said that the passed PIB has dashed the hope of the people of the Niger Delta.
Clark who was represented at a press briefing in his Asokoro residence, Abuja by PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, said that the PIB passed does not reflect the long clamour by the people of the region for equity, fairness and justice.
“It is important to state clearly here to all well-meaning Nigerians that the demand of the oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta Region was for a minimum of 10% equity participation,” he said.
“But you Mr. Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker and some of your colleagues in the National Assembly, have further shown your disdain to the Niger Delta people by redefining host communities to include pipeline-bearing pathway communities, in which case States where pipelines pass through to aid them with the privilege of cheap supplies of Niger Delta petroleum products could also be entitled to the ridiculous and unacceptable percentages that the legislators are willing to cede to oil-bearing Communities.”
“We want to warn seriously, that the people of the Niger Delta have had enough of this colonial and oppressive mentality of our Northern brothers and friends. Today, the north controls the Oil Sector, even though day-to-day operations are being handled by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Clarke added that the entire people of the Niger Delta region, for and on behalf of the host communities, vehemently reject the 3% and 5% of operating expenditure granted to the host communities; the fraudulent and provocative 30% provision for the frontier exploration fund.
He demanded that the PIB be reversed, reviewed and amended to ensure that the oil-bearing communities receive not less than 10% of operating cost.
“If this is not done, the Niger Delta people may be forced to take their destiny into their own hands and all IOCs may find themselves denied access to their oil activities in such communities,” he added.