Mkpoikana Udoma 12 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Director, Directorate of Modular Refineries (Institute of the Environment), Mr. Pat Obiene, says the petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, cannot solve all the problems bedevilling the Nigerian petroleum sector.
He described the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB,recently passed by the Senate as a distraction from the fundamental political issues that needed to be addressed in the country.
Obiene, who is also a Community Development Consultant in the Niger Delta, said the yearning of the Niger Delta people is for the amendment of the constitutional provision that gives the President of Nigeria the powers to sign oil wells in the region to who ever he likes.
He said the Niger Delta people want to have first-right of ownership of the oil wells now that the Federal Government is interested in bringing peace and stability to the region.
He said: “What I think about the PIGB as a Niger Delta activist, is that, it cannot address the myriads of problems bedevilling the petroleum industry because from the intention of this particular passage, it is just to regulate the petroleum institutions and structures. There is no host community interest, there is policy about the investors interest.
“For example, you know overtime now the Federal Government had always complained of huge amount of exported crude oil not accounted for by NNPC and crude oil exporters.
“Secondly, the host communities are in the dark to know the quantity of crude oil taken from their community daily by investors because there is no oil and gas policy to help the innocent community know how much crude leaves their land everyday as to put them in a fair position to negotiate corporate social responsibility.”
The Niger Delta activist also said that Nigeria can only make progress by reviewing the Land Use Act in the interest of the petroleum host communities.
“From my experience, I don’t think passage of the whole PIB can solve all the problems in the sector, it is beyond that. What about the Land Use Law section 18, of the interpretation Act 2004?
“The non inclusion of Host community Act in the PIGB is already seen in the selective manner the Senate held the last public hearing before passing the bill.
“We could see that non of the host community representative was invited or notified. Some members of PANDEF couldn’t have represented host communities interest in that public hearing”.