The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has rejected the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), warning that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) will be at risk of difficult operational environment if the Bill was not revisited and the concerns of the people of the region properly addressed.
National Leader of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, at a press briefing in Abuja, on Monday, described provisions of the PIB as unjust, satanic, provocative and embarrassing.
He pointed out that the legislation as part of a larger plot by International Oil Companies and their northern collaborators to continue the subjugation of the people of the Niger Delta.
It would be recalled that the National Assembly last week passed the PIB, raising the frontier basins exploration fund to 30 per cent. The bill was passed after roughly 13 years, having been first sent to the National Assembly in 2008 by late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
Clark, specifically noted that the provision of 30 per cent of profits for further frontier oil exploration in the North calls to question claims by the current regime that it was working towards an economy away from oil.
The elder statesman spoke through the PANDEF National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, who read an open letter written by Clark and addressed to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila
He said people of the Niger Delta, at all levels both at home and abroad, have expressed their great displeasure over the satanic and obnoxious allocation of a paltry percentage of operating expenditure to oil producing communities by the National Assembly.
Clark said the PIB does not reflect the long clamour by the people of region for equity, fairness and justice, noting that the bill has dashed the hopes of the people of the Niger Delta.
“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 said the entire people of the Niger Delta region, for and on behalf of the host communities, vehemently reject the 3 per cent and 5 per cent of operating expenditure granted to the host communities; the fraudulent and provocative 30 per cent 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.