The Punch

PIB: A’ibom gov condemns 3% derivation, Buhari asked to withhold assent

- DANIELS IGONI with agency report

THE governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel, has said the five per cent on oil derivation demanded by governors in the South-south is not too much when examined on the background of “the devastatin­g effects on members of our communitie­s.”

The governor stated this while answering questions from journalist­s in Minna, Niger State, on Saturday.

Emmanuel said, “The current three per cent is too little, considerin­g the risks and hazards members of oil producing areas are subjected to. The fishermen can no longer earn a living because of oil spillage while the farmers cannot farm. There are numerous other challenges confrontin­g members of oil communitie­s.’’

On the Petrol Industry Bill, the governor said that members of the National Assembly had performed their duties and the southern governors could not take away their functions, adding that more resources were required to assist oilproduci­ng communitie­s.

According to him, the affected governors will study the PIB carefully and react to it.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that members of the Senate and the House of Representa­tives recently passed the PIB with recommenda­tions on funds for host communitie­s generating much interest.

Meanwhile, a South-south stakeholde­rs group, the Mangrove People leadership Initiative, has urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to decline his assent to the PIB.

The group also rejected the three per cent allocated for host communitie­s and the 30 per cent proposed for oil exploratio­n activities the frontier basins contained in the harmonised document.

The group spoke in a communiqué read to journalist­s after its two-day second South-south grass-roots conference in yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Friday, with the theme “South-south and the Politics of Petroleum Industry Bill.”

The group’s national secretary, Mfawa Ofegobi, who read the communiqué, said the region would not accept anything less than 10 per cent for the oil-bearing communitie­s.

Ofegobi, together with the group’s President-general, Harry and other officials and chairmen of the group from the six states of the region, insisted that the contents of the bill awaiting the President’s assent had left the people of the region with more questions than answers.

Ofegobi said, “We appeal to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to decline his assent to the PIB as passed (by the National Assembly).

“MAPLI rejects the 30 per cent allocated for oil and gas exploratio­n in the frontier basins in the North while the oil-producing region is bedevilled by oil spillages and illnesses.

“We also reject the three per cent allocated to the Host Communitie­s Trust Fund. We insist that the PIB should be specific on the definition of host communitie­s. What constitute­s host communitie­s? Is it where oil is found, where there are pipelines, refineries or depots?”

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