The Ijaw National Congress (INC), the Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCOM) and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), on Monday, August 16, criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
The groups, while kicking against the new oil industry law, said by his assent, Buhari has shown how insensitive he is to people of the Niger Delta, adding that his action was unfortunate, unbelievable, repugnant, abominable and a clear case of arrogance and contempt with which issues affecting the region and its people have been treated.
President of the INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba in an interview in Yenagoa, said the next action of the Ijaws would be determined after wide consultations with critical stakeholders in the region.
He said: “The position of INC remains as we stated earlier. We believe in resource justice which is 100 percent control of our resources. We thought 10 percent was reasonable but three percent remains unacceptable to us.
“But as to what the Ijaw will do or say further will depend on a product of wide level consultations and the consultations have started. We are going to consult with stakeholders vertically and horizontally and come up with a firm position as a people.
“Meanwhile, we reject in its totality the three percent as assented to by the President”.
On its part, PANDEF described the signing into law of the PIB as unfortunate, saying Buhari ignored the overwhelming outcries on the fundamental flaws of the bill.
National spokesman of PANDEF, Mr Ken Robinson, said they will explore all legal means to ensure that people of the Niger Delta get a better deal from the new law.
His words: “This PIB falls way short of the expectations of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities that bear the brunt of unconscionable industry operations.
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“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 are treated, particularly, by this 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.
“That’s insensitive, 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.
“The Niger Delta people will speak, shortly, after full consultations, on this callous act, on the best legal and political response”.
In his submission, President of HOSCOM,
Chief Tamarakeni Styles, while rejecting the bill as signed by Buhari, said his action was an ambush on the people of the region and an attempt to take away the wealth of the region.
He said with the presidential assent, the participatory rights of host communities had been breached and vowed that host communities would challenge the government’s decision.
The Petroleum industry Act provides a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the development of host communities and related matters.