Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has emphasized the need to ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill currently undergoing hearing in the Nigerian Senate, is tailored to peg the royalties to host communities at 10%.
The Governor made this request when he hosted members of the PIB committee of the National Assembly in Government house, Port Harcourt.
Wike in his statement called for clarity, precision and transparency in the bill.
He also said most of the host communities have suffered series of challenges ranging from biodegradation to economic woes as a result of activities by multinationals in the area.
In his words: “It is unfortunate that people produce oil but live in poverty. I believe that the PIB committee will make recommendations of how certain percent(age) must be given to the host communities.
“There are issues of education and health, so don’t just say 10 percent to the oil host communities. It must be tied to specific projects so that whoever is in charge will take note of them.”
Wike reiterated the need for the National Assembly to state in clear terms what projects the funds from the PIB should be used for, saying that such steps must be taken to avoid some mistakes made by the National Assembly in the inception of the Niger Delta Development Commission, the NDDC.
The Governor urged the National Assembly to follow the actualization of the Petroleum Industry Bill to the latter, so it doesn’t end up like the Electoral Bill that was never implemented.
Victor Onyemaechi, Deputy Chairman of the committee who led the delegation, said the members were in Rivers for a town hall meeting with stakeholders to resolve what should be allocated to host communities in the bill.
Mr. Onyemaechi decried the misconception of host communities and hostility in the minds of the public.
He also expressed his disappointment at the level of damage caused by some multinational companies in host communities.
According to him: “What we have seen in the last four days have proved people wrong. As we walked round these few days, we saw that people use wood as a bridge to get to where Shell Petroleum Development Company is exploring oil.
We also saw the impact of SPDC operations on people’s means of livelihood.”