PAN Niger Delta Forum (Pandef) leader Chief Edwin Clark has rejected the recently-passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) saying the new piece of legislation only gave oil host communities 3% of the revenue accrued against their requested 10%.
Last week, Nigeria’s National Assembly passed the long-awaited PIB, which among other things guaranteed 3% of oil proceeds from crude oil exploration to their immediate host communities. However, Chief Clarke said this was unacceptable and if the bill is signed into law in its current form, international oil companies (IOC’s) would be evicted from the Niger Delta.
He also kicked against the 30% of the profits of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) set aside for frontier oil exploration, in northern Nigeria, describing the bill as satanic, unjust and embarrassing. Speaking in Abuja, Chief Clark, who is also the leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), said that the PIB in its current form has dashed the hopes of the people of the Niger Delta.
Chief Clark said the Niger Delta region has had enough of the colonial oppression and will be resisting it. In an open letter addressed to the senate president Senator Ahmad Lawan and speaker of the House of Representatives Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief Clarke stressing that the PIB as passed does not reflect the long clamour by the people of the Niger Delta for equity, fairness and justice.
According to Chief Clark, the entire people of the Niger Delta region, for and on behalf of the host communities, vehemently reject the 3% and 5% of operating expenditure granted to the host communities. He added that they also oppose what he called the fraudulent and provocative 30% provision for the frontier exploration fund.
Chief Clark 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 and the fraudulent and provocative 30% provision for the Frontier Exploration Fund.
“We 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 costs. 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.”
According to Chief Clark, the people of the Niger Delta, at all levels both at home and abroad, have expressed their great displeasure over what he called satanic and obnoxious allocation of a paltry percentage of operating expenditure to oil-producing communities by the National Assembly. His letter stated: “You Mr Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker and some of your colleagues in the National Assembly have further shown your disdain for 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 IOCs on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”