Main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law, describing the development as ‘a display of the disdain for the people of Niger Delta.’
This is also as the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) berated President Buhari for assenting to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2020 without the amendment of some contentious sections contained in the document.
PDP in a statement by her Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that the PIB as passed by the National Assembly was ‘offensive, repugnant and anti-people,’ stressing that Buhari’s endorsement of the bill only ‘shows that he and his All Progressives Congress have no iota of respect for the people as well as the tenets of democracy as a system of government.’
“The PDP berates President Muhammadu Buhari for ignoring the outcry by Nigerians across board not to sign the offensive, repugnant and anti-people Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), as passed by the National Assembly into law.
“The party notes that the signing of the law, despite widespread public rejection, amounts to an endorsement of imposition and further confirms that President Buhari and his All Progressives Congress have no iota of respect for the people as well as the tenets of democracy as a system of government.
“By his action, President Buhari has only authenticated that he is not a listening leader and that the APC and its leaders are only out to trample on the will of Nigerians for their selfish interests.
“In putting his hands to endorse the obnoxious bill, even with its distasteful, paltry &provocative 3 per cent revenue to oil-producing communities, President Buhari and the APC have again displayed disdain and insensitivity to the sufferings of the people of the Niger Delta.
“The PDP holds that such is the height of contempt to oil-producing communities, particularly in the face of the challenges which they face as a result of oil exploration.
“Noting that Mr. President could have returned the bill to the National Assembly with a request that it is made to address the demands of the oil-producing communities, our party fears that the new law cannot guarantee the desired stability and development in the oil and gas sector as well as respite in the Niger Delta region.
“If anything, the Act, as signed by President Buhari, is a dangerous recipe for avoidable crisis in the sector,” read the statement.
The opposition party, therefore, called on Buhari to ‘salvage the situation by immediately forwarding an amendment bill to the National Assembly to reflect the true wishes and aspirations of every segment of our nation.’
The Niger Delta people’s rights advocacy group, PANDEF, on its part, described President Buhari assenting to the controversial bill as ‘a way to siphon oil money from Southern Nigeria to the North.’
The PIB law approves at least 30 per cent of the profit to be generated by the proposed Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to go to the exploration of oil in ‘frontier basins’, according to Section 9 of the PIB.
This is, however, as the law only approves a meager 3 per cent of revenue from oil production to host communities in the South-South region of the country, where the product is obtained.
PANDEF’s spokesman, Ken Robinson, reacting to the signing into law of the bill by President described as outrageous and fraudulent, the allocation of 30 per cent for the exploration of oil in the frontier basins, noting that oil business is a private affair and that investors should use their resources in the search for oil anywhere in the country.
“It is very unfortunate that in spite of the outcry and the condemnation that greeted the paltry 3 per cent provided for the development of the host communities and the outrageous 30 per cent of the NNPC limited profit allocated for the exploration of oil in the frontiers, Mr President has gone ahead to endorse the bill into law.
“It is an outrageous provision, it is fraudulent. It is a way of siphoning Nigeria’s money. When you allocate 30 per cent of profit for exploration, the oil exploration in the Niger Delta was not carried out with Nigeria’s money. The oil industry is a business and if anybody wants to explore oil, they should spend their money, they should invest their money.
“All that the government needs to do is to create the right environment, the enabling environment for investors to go there to explore oil. If they find oil, fine; if they don’t, that’s business.
“That’s what happened in the Niger Delta; Nigeria did not spend money to explore oil. So, when you take our money, 30 per cent of the supposed profit of the NNPC, it is fraudulent conduit pipe to siphon Nigeria’s money for whatever purposes they have set out for themselves.
“These are the reasons why PANDEF and other regional organisations are insisting on the restructuring of the Nigerian state. The structure of this country, the present constitution of Nigeria is fraud and very skewed against Southern Nigeria, not just the Niger Delta people, and we will continue to insist that Nigeria must be restructured.
“Let the federating units, states or whatever control the resources and give taxes to the federal or central government. We can’t continue in this fraudulent process, it is robbery of the Niger Delta people,” he said.