Abiodun OBA

Niger Delta will take their destinies in their hands and deny International Oil Companies (IOCs) entry into the region should the National Assembly fail to reverse the passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark who leads the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), who gave the warning, described the newly passed Bill as satanic, unjust and embarrassing to Niger Delta.

He said it has dashed the hope of the people of the Niger Delta region.

Clark, said the provision that allocated a huge 30% of profits for further frontier oil exploration in the north was a source of concern.

He said it is an absurd provision especially in a fast changing world as investment shifts away from fossil fuel.

The elder statesman who was represented at the press conference in Abuja by PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson said, “Given the depth of ingratitude expressed and delivered after decades of exploitation and neglect of the region, the entire people of the Niger Delta region, for and on behalf of the host communities, vehemently reject the following aspects of the bill: the 3% and 5% of Operating Expenditure granted to the Host Communities; the fraudulent and provocative 30% provision for the Frontier Exploration Fund.

“And now demand: the PIB must be reversed, reviewed and amended to ensure that the Oil-Bearing Communities must now 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.”

Clark declared that the region has had enough of the post-colonial oppression and will be resisting it.

He said the bill does not reflect the long clamour by the people of the region for equity, fairness and justice.

The two chambers of the National Assembly last week Thursday passed the PIB, after about 13 years of legislative fireworks.

Harmonisation of the bill will be done this week.

The bill was first sent to the National Assembly in 2008 by President Umaru Yar’Adua, now deceased, without translating into an Act.

The PIB, 2020 seeks to introduce far-reaching reforms in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

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