Non-passage of PIB to blame for renewed agitation in Niger Delta, says former presidential aide

Dr. Egbogah

Dr. Egbogah

• Senate gives reasons for delay, experts say bill will boost investment
• New NDDC boss tasked on people-oriented projects

The non payment of 10 per cent of oil revenue to the host and impact Niger Delta communities as enshrined in the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is responsible for the resurgence of agitation in the region, former Special Adviser to the President on Energy Matters, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah has said.

Speaking at the 2nd graduation and award ceremony of the Emerald Energy Institute of the University of Port Harcourt last weekend, Egbogah said the National Assembly must move swiftly to ensure passage of the bill to facilitate Nigeria’s quick exit from the recession.

Egbogah insisted that the non-passage of the PIB has also denied host communities their earnings, hence may be one of the reasons attack on oil installations are back.

Asked if the hostilities can be stopped without PIB passage, Egbogah said: “The PIB, if well understood, made plans about the reform of the oil industry and having a law to back that up. It is the legal and regulatory framework to back up the promises that were made to the people of the Niger Delta region.”

The Senate explained that fears that the interest of oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta might not be adequately addressed in the new version of the PIB was one major factor delaying passage of the bill.

Senate’s spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, however, assured that the fears have been addressed by the Senate through the splitting of the bill into different independent bills, with each catering for a particular interest.

Abdullahi said the Management Framework aspect of the Bill has passed the second reading stage while the Host Community Bill segment is still being processed for the second reading.

Also urging speedy passage, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, through his Special Assistant on Community Relations, Mr. Jude Fregene said PIB would reduce insurgency and tension in the region.

The President, Oil and Gas Trainers Association, Dr. Afe Mayowa urged the National Assembly to urgently pass the PIB in order to encourage more investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

The Managing Director of First Exploration and Production Nigeria, Ademola Adeyemi-Baro, said the uncertainty created by the non-passage, destabilising discussions around the fiscal and local content has clearly stalled the industry. He added that there is need for government to give certainty to the strategy and policy direction of the oil and gas industry.

Meanwhile, a group of ex-Niger Delta militant leaders has urged the new board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to embark on people-oriented projects in the region in other to bring the much-needed development to the region.

The ex-militants under the auspices of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), which boasts of about 90 per cent of ex-agitators in Phase 1 of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, in an electronic mail by its Press Secretary, Francis Wainwei, advised the Chairman of the commission, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba to interface with relevant stakeholders to see through his promises and embark on projects that will see the light of the day especially the oil-producing areas.

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