Diri rejects 2.5% for host communities in PIB, proposes 10%
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has said the 2.5 per cent revenue proposed for host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was grossly inadequate and unacceptable to the Niger Delta people.
Diri stated this yesterday during a town hall meeting on the bill with members of the National Assembly and stakeholders in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The governor, who proposed 10 per cent equity share for host communities, stressed that if the lawmakers see the level of environmental degradation and its attendant effects on the Niger Delta people, they would not hesitate to increase it further from 10 per cent.
A statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as insisting that the PIB was critical in addressing unemployment, lack of transparency in the oil and gas sector, militarisation of oil production, skills acquisition and marginalisation of oil producing states.
“When you visit some of the sites where oil is being explored that bring multi-million dollars to this country, you will even agree with me that we should increase it further from 10 per cent,” he said.
Diri, who decried delay in the passage and implementation of the bill for about 14 years, urged members of the National Assembly to ensure its passage to engender peace and development in the region and entire country.
“If the bill had been passed, billions of naira used in safeguarding oil facilities would have been deployed for development purposes,” he added.
He expressed regrets that oil communities that bear the brunt of oil production were given no consideration, while multinational oil companies and the federal government were given more attention in the bill, stressing that such a situation was not in the best interest of the people.
Speaking, Deputy Chairman, House Ad-Hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, Victor Nwokolo, said the PIB from the executive aimed at reforming the oil and gas industry and pledged that they would work hard to ensure passage of the bill before the end of May.
Citing the legal framework in the PIB, he noted that it would foster prosperity in host communities and ensure that oil companies operating in the region conduct their needs assessment to determine their development needs.
Chairman, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, who was represented by the Ibedaowei of Ekpetiama Clan, King Bubaraye Dakolo, recommended that the bill considered environmental pollution, particularly gas flaring and ensure inclusion of rights of host communities.
Also, spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, said life expectancy in the Niger Delta had significantly reduced as a result of the effects of gas flaring and yet the region contributes a great deal to the economic survival of the country.
On his part, Director General, Centre for Youth Development, Okubokakpo Ombu, Chief Ambrose Akierite representing Odioama Community, and Mrs. Juliet Zifawei, Deputy Director-General, Centre for Women Development, canvassed inclusion of women and youths empowerment in the bill.
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