As reactions continue to trail the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Host Communities have rejected the bill that was passed into law by the Upper and lower legislative Chambers.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, the HOSTCOM with other critical stakeholders from the Niger Delta region accused the lawmakers of smuggling draconian and oppressive clauses into the bill during its final draft copy.
The National President of Host Communities, Dr. Benjamin Style Tamaranebi expressed disappointment that the input of the people of Niger Delta to the bill during its public hearings conducted at different times by the relevant Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives were completely jettisoned.
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign the bill, Dr Tamaranebi pointed out that there were strange clauses that have been smuggled into the bill which does not only isolate the communities from operations of oil companies, but were draconian and oppressive.
He said: “That the report of the Joint Committee, most especially the aspect concerning section 234 deals with the Host Communities Sustainable Development title, while 234(4d) deal with the objectives regarding the Trust Fund was wholly jettisoned.
“What was the justification for inviting only the industry players for passage if it were to ensure transparency, efficient legal framework, good governance, accountability and industry sustainable development for a favourable working environment.”
They raised about 13 clauses in the bill considered oppressive to the communities where the oil companies operates.
They were emphatic that section 4 of the 234 was without the knowledge of the host communities, saying: “It deals with the settler and funds reduction for the Trust Fund.”
Also, Chief Edwin Kiagbo Clark in his contribution lashed out at the lawmakers from the Niger Delta region for not protecting the interest of the region.
He said the equity share of 3% was unacceptable, stressing that the people of Niger Delta cannot continue to be enslaved by the northerners.
Clark stressed that the 5% equity share for the proposed Trust Fund for development of Niger Delta, which was eventually passed by the House of Representatives, will also not be acceptable.
“There is conspiracy by the northerners against the people of Niger Delta. We cannot continue to be slaves of the North and let it be known today that the PIB is unacceptable to the people of Niger Delta”, Clark said.
It could be recalled Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan had constituted the Conference Committee to harmonise the differences in the PIB that was passed into law by both chambers.