*Seeks resource control and self-determination
Port Harcourt — The Ijaw Youth Council has rejected the Petroleum Industry Bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing the new Act as an affront on the people of the Niger Delta region.
IYC said the assent of President Buhari to the Bill, was an insult to the region who hitherto rejected the 3percent earmarked as host communities funds and had demanded 10 percent during the public hearings on the Bill.
Spokesman of IYC, Ebilade Ekerefe, said the President should have sent the Bill back to the National Assembly for upward review of the 3percent to host communities, whose environments had been destroyed by oil exploration activities.
Ekerefe in a statement warned that the President and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva were no longer welcome in the region, following their roles in the passage and assent of the PIB.
IYC said the decision not to welcome Buhari and Sylva in the region was in condemnation of the disregard they have demonstrated towards the people, hence should not expect accolades from the region.
“Their (Buhari and Sylva) movement into the six states of the Niger Delta will be welcomed with boos and disgraceful jeers due to their show of disregard to the plights and cries of the people of the region over the years.
“As a son of the Niger Delta, he (Sylva) should have apologized and appealed to the people rather than justifying the Petroleum Industry Act which was politically tailored to favour the North and its allies in the oil and gas industry.
“It is a rape of justice and equity for the National Assembly to approve a grossly inadequate 3percent as against the 10percent which stakeholders agreed upon, and 30 per cent for the frontier basins when the National Assembly Joint Committee came here.
“With the amount of speed the President used in signing the PIB without recourse to the position of stakeholders from the region, the President has further demonstrated that the opinions of the Niger Delta people don’t matter in his government as we’ve witnessed in other areas that require urgent attention of his government.
“In the light of the foregoing, there’s no better time for the people of the Niger Delta region to intensify the struggle for resource control and self-determination.
“We believe strongly that, that will be the only sure path upon which our God-giving natural resources can be managed by us and not this impunity we’ve witnessed from a repressive Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari,” IYC said.