Leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has described the newly passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as satanic, unjust, embarrassing and dashing the hopes of Niger Delta people.
Edwin Clark, who is also leader of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), condemned the allocation of three per cent by the Senate and fiver per cent by House of Representatives to host communities and provision and allocation of 30 per cent of profits from oil exploitation for further frontier oil exploration in the north saying it was fraudulently inserted into the bill.
He said people of the Niger Delta, at all levels , both at home and abroad, have expressed their displeasure over what he called satanic and obnoxious allocation of a paltry percentage of operating expenditure to oil producing communities by the National Assembly, saying the PIB does not reflect the long clamour by the people of region for equity, fairness and justice.
Edwin Clark, represented at a press conference in Abuja by PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, declared that the region has had enough of colonial oppression and would resist the bill.
The two chambers of the National Assembly last week Thursday passed the PIB which seeks to introduce far-reaching reforms in the oil and gas industry, after about 13 years of legislative fireworks.
The bill was first sent to the National Assembly in 2008 by President Umaru Yar’Adua, now deceased, without translating into an Act.
Edwin Clark demanded that the bill as passed be reversed else the Niger Delta would take their destinies in their hands and deny International Oil Companies (IOCs) operations into the region.
“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 three and five per cent operating expenditure granted to the host communities; the fraudulent and provocative 30 per cent 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 per cent 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.
“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 per cent equity participation. 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.”