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PANDEF seeks reversal of PIB, insists on 10% for host communities

By Adamu Abuh, Abuja
06 July 2021   |   4:32 am
The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), yesterday, demanded a reversal of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as passed by the National Assembly in which the lawmakers reduced host communities...

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 18, 2005 (FILES) shows Shell Oil’s oil and gas terminal on Bonny Island in southern Nigeria’s Niger Delta. – Nigeria’s parliament on July 1, 2021 voted to approve a long-delayed oil and gas law that aims to attract new foreign investment to the OPEC country’s petroleum industry.<br />The Petroleum Industry Bill or PIB had been under review in the National Assembly for nearly two decades, beset by disagreements, including over how much revenue should go to local communities in oil-producing regions. (Photo by Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP)

The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), yesterday, demanded a reversal of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as passed by the National Assembly in which the lawmakers reduced host communities’ operating expenditure from five per cent to three per cent.

In letter to the Ahmed Lawan-led Senate, PANDEF vehemently rejected the three per cent of operating expenditure granted host communities in the proposed legislation.

PANDEF also described the 30 per cent provision for the Frontier Exploration Fund in the proposed law to be reviewed and presented to President Muhammadu Buhari for signing as “fraudulent and provocative.”

The Chief Edwin Clark-led group demanded immediate reversal and review of the PIB to ensure that the oil-bearing communities receive at least 10 per cent of operating cost.

PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, at a media briefing in Abuja, warned that oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta region might be disrupted if the Federal Government failed to meet the demands on the PIB.

“If this is not done, the Niger Delta people may be forced to take their destiny in their hands and all international oil companies (IOCs) may be denied access to their installations and oil activities in the communities,” he stressed.

Explaining why it rejected some aspects of the PIB, PANDEF said: “It is not clear where the Frontier Basins currently reside. We the Niger Delta people would be happy if all regions of the country were to be oil producing. However, we must be careful to use the resources at our disposal, as judiciously as possible.

“Rather than using our country’s funds to exploit its existing resources, we are using our scarce funds on exploring oil in the North, an exercise that most industry stakeholders have described as “wasteful, a wild goose chase and political exploration.”

“So, the Ad-Hoc Committee’s recommendation that funding of the Frontier Exploration Fund, which was previously based on 10 per cent of Petroleum Prospecting Licenses (PPLs) and Petroleum Mining Leases (PMLs) rents should be increased by 30 per cent from the newly commercialised NNPC’s oil and gas profit, as in the production, profit sharing and risk service contracts took us by surprise,” it said.

Speaking further, PANDEF argued that it was not clear where the recommendation came from, adding that Niger Delta representatives that attended the public hearings did not recall hearing any request for additional funding for the Frontier Exploration Fund from any industry stakeholder.

“Therefore, we totally condemn not only the concept itself, but also the means through which it was smuggled into the Bill,” it added.