The Guardian (Nigeria)

Activists reject PIB, insist it fails to address key issues

- By Edu Abade

ACTIVISTS drawn from civil society organisati­ons have condemned the Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB) recently passed by both chambers of the National Assembly for failing to address critical issues in the oil and gas sector , especially as they concern oil- bearing communitie­s.

Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, representa­tives of Home of Mother Earth Foundation ( HOMEF), Corporate Accountabi­lity and Public Participat­ion Africa ( CAPPA), We The People and the En vironmenta­l Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria ( ERA/ FOEN) car

peted the lawmakers for passing what they described as an “obnoxious and vexatious bill.”

Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, Acting Executive Director of ERA/ FOEN, Chima Williams, Ken Hensha w of ERA/ FOEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Philip Jakpor and Aderonke Ige of CAPPA, among others, condemned provisions of the bill, especially the three per cent for Host Communitie­s Fund and 30 per cent for oil exploratio­n in Frontier Basins in Northern Nigeria.

They insisted that the current version of the PIB failed to address community, economic and en vironmenta­l con

cerns, adding that the bill was introduced in 2008 and envisaged the emergence of new institutio­nal frameworks to govern the operation of the oil and gas industr y in Nigeria.

On the Host Communitie­s Trust, the PIB makes elaborate provisions for the establishm­ent and management of a petroleum host community developmen­t trust as a framework for the transfer of developmen­t benefits to the communitie­s.

“However, it makes the incorporat­ion of the trust the exclusive responsibi­lity of oil companies operating in the area and gives oil companies overriding powers to decide

who become members of the trust and other governance structures.

“The provisions for the establishm­ent and governance of the trust, downgrades participat­ion of communitie­s, while overtly promoting the role of oil companies. The PIB empowers the companies to nominate all members of the Board of Trustees with only an obligation to ‘ consult’ host communitie­s,” Henshaw said.

They argued that the three per cent earmarked for host communitie­s was a clear indication that the PIB was meant to continue the historical treatment of host communitie­s as oil colonies and sacri - fice zones under the control of profiteeri­ng companies.

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