Leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark has warned of possible hostilities in the Niger Delta region if the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is not reversed, reviewed and amended.
Chief Clark, an Ijaw national leader on Monday described the newly passed PIB as “satanic, unjust and embarrassing” and also condemned the provision and allocation of 30% of profits for further frontier oil exploration in the north.
He cautioned that the “Niger Delta people may be forced to take their destiny into their own hands”.
Last week, Nigeria’s legislature passed the PIB, increasing the frontier basins exploration fund to 30 per cent while reducing equity participation for oil-bearing communities from the proposed 10 per cent to 3 per cent.
In his reaction to the passed bill, Clark in an open letter addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker House of Representatives, said the PIB does not reflect the long clamour by the people of the 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% and 5% of operating expenditure granted to the host communities; the fraudulent and provocative 30% 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.
By Abel Ejikeme