Stakeholders in the Niger Delta have condemned the action of President Muhammadu Buhari who on Monday signed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law despite wide condemnations by the people of Niger Delta region.
The Pan-Niger Delta Elders’ Forum (PANDEF) in a statement by its ational publicity secretary, Hon Ken Robinson, PANDEF said it was quite unfortunate that President Buhari went ahead to assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill, despite the overwhelming outcry and condemnation that greeted its passage by the National Assembly, especially with regards to the “paltry 3% provision for the Host Communities Development Trust Fund, HCDTF and the brazen appropriation of an outrageous 30% of NNPC Ltd profit for a dubious, nebulous frontier oil exploration fund”.
PANDEF noted that the PIB falls way short of the expectations of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities, that bear the brunt of unconscionable industry operations.
“This assent, by President Buhari, simply speaks to the repugnant attitude of disregard, propelled by arrogance, disdain and contempt with which issues concerning the Niger Delta Region are treated, particularly, by the present Administration.
“What this act signifies is an unequivocal message to the Niger Delta people that how they feel and what they say, do not count, at all, in the Schemes of the Nigerian Project”.
The group stated that the decision to sign the bill into law was not only insensitive but “abominable and afar every boundary of proper Democratic practice, and, therefore, unacceptable to the good people of the Niger Delta, the critical economic nexus of the entire Nigerian territory”.
It assured that the Niger Delta people would speak up appropriately after full consultations, on this act on the best legal and political response.
Meanwhile, the movement for the survival of Ogoni people, MOSOP, has called on all Federal lawmakers and, indeed, the entire people of the six states of the Niger Delta region to begin to push for the amendment of the PIB law.
Making the call hours after President BUHARI signed the controversial bill into law, the President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke described the PIB law as “repressive” in nature and “directly against the wish of the people of the region”.
Nsuke called on the people of the oil-producing Niger Delta to out rightly reject the PIB law as it was against their common interest considering the brunt the oil communities have been bearing over the years due to environmental devastation from oil exploration.
“Any sensitive government should refrain from making laws that will be inimical to any section of the country. The Niger Delta people deserve the best treatment in this country giving their contributions to the national economy and taking nothing back in return.
“This PIB law is repressive and anti-Niger Delta people. I therefore call on the federal lawmakers and the people of the Niger Delta to rise and call for the immediate amendment of this obnoxious law”, he said.
The MOSOP President in a telephone interview in Port Harcourt on Monday, noted that when a law is repressive to the people, it makes its enforcement impossible, adding that “the law is unacceptable to the Niger Delta people and must be rejected”.