83% of Nigeria oil blocs owned by Northerners — Senate Committee chair

The senate is currently debating the Petroleum Industry Bill.

The various oil blocs that were awarded to Nigerians in the past should be revoked, and a new oil bloc allocation that would ensure federal character principle carried out, a senator has said.

The senator insinuated that many of the oil blocs allocated in the past were done to favour persons from Northern Nigeria, many of whom have now become richer than their states and geo-political zones.

Oil blocs are awarded at the discretion of the president through the Petroleum Minister largely without any transparent process. Many past public officials, particularly those that served during the military era are today proud owners of oil blocs, with some of them selling the blocks for billions of dollars.

Ita Enang, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, on Wednesday in Abuja, advocated equitable distribution of oil bloc licences in the country.

Mr Enang claimed 83 percent of the nation’s oil blocs are owned by people from the North of Nigeria.

The senator made the call during the debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB on the floor of the Senate.

He was reacting to the Northern Senators’ stance that the oil producing areas receive too much money from the Federation Accounts.

He said the oil blocs should be revoked and re-awarded to ensure that the federal character principle was applied in distribution of oil blocs, marginal fields and prospecting licences.

The rich oil bloc owners

Mr. Enang, who spoke with journalists after the plenary, alleged that most of the owners of the oil blocs were richer than their geo-political zone.

“Some people who own oil blocs in the North East are richer than their States. At least one person is richer than the entire six or seven states of the North East.

“Now it is still said that the Niger Delta is taking too much when one person is taking from the profit he makes from each of the oil blocs more than what even the derivation that the totality of the states are taking.

“Most of these oil blocs were awarded long ago. Most of the owners are so rich that the country becomes the poorer for it.

“We should revoke all the oil blocs, re-allocate them either through this bill (PIB) or an Act of the Executive. This is the wealth of the nation.

He accused most of the wealthy operators in the oil sector as being responsible for the theft of oil and illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta.

Mr. Enang said: “we talk about people stealing oil. Oil is not stolen with teacup.

“It is stolen with ships and it is these big persons who have these facilities that are capable of facilitating it, not the ordinary persons branded militants,” he explained.

The Senator advised his colleagues to carry out thorough review of the inconsistencies in the PIB to ensure its prompt passage.

The northern senators’ stance

The Northern Senators, while supporting the general principles of the PIB, insisted that certain aspects of the bill had to be amended.

They demanded a review of the 10 per cent meant for host community fund and called for the independence of the National Frontiers Exploration Agency with specific source of funding.

The senators also noted that the powers vested in the Minister of Petroleum Resources were excessive, saying “it is capable of undermining transparency and accountability in the oil sector.”

They stressed the need for such powers to be whittled down before the passage of the PIB.

The debates on the PIB, which started on Tuesday at the floor of the Senate, is scheduled to continue on Thursday.

(NAN)


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  • Sahfeeyah

    “Ordinary persons branded militants” indeed!

  • shinesunny65

    With the high cost of doing business in nigeria,increase in import duty levies,high electricity bill and diesel consumption, few persons is still super rich as forbes claim and some ignorants say we should not talk because they create employment.i never trusted forbes in anyway.is it the basis where you work daily from 6am to 6pm and get peanut as salary that they call employer of labour?what can 12k monthly do?let this wealth go round so that we all will be comfortable.not only 2 people carry chicken leaving us with bones.nonsense.

  • disqus_aIymsy5Jso

    More questions than Answers:Who regulates the Petroleum Industry? Why is so much power given to the office of the Minister instead of empowering the institutions. Did Mr President go through the PIB to discover the inconsistencies before handing it over to National Assembly?. Was the PIB designed to fail so that the corruption in the Oil Sector can Continue? Madam Minister and Mr President these questions are for you.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    Northern businessmen own more than 83% of oil wells in the Niger delta. For forty years, they have treated the Niger Delta like a war booty, good only for rape and plunder. The rape has gone on for far too long. The oil barons are sponsoring the Northern senators, to avoid paying 10% of their profits to host communities (which compared to the 18% in Brazil, is actually at the lower side). Most of the oil barons do not actually pay taxes to the Federal Government. Like the NNPC, no one can say for sure how much they take home monthly. Someone like Alhaji Indime from Borno state can afford to pay welfare of 20000 Naira monthly to unemployed youth in Borno State.
    I think we must nationalise all the oil wells, otherwise everybody has a moral and legal rights to steal them, the same way, the Hausa-Fulani elite are currently stealing, albeit, legally.

    • Enemona

      This is the only thing that you’ve said on this forum that is very close to ‘making sense’. I agree with you. This should not be limited to the oil sector alone, other businessmen that have been enjoying illegal rents through the dubious purchase/allocation of national assets should be forced to return them to the nation.

      Nationalisation is the way to go but before we do that, we should ensure that we can vouch for the integrity of public officers unlike what we have now. The current administration cannot be trusted to manage such assets. We’ve found ourselves between the devil and the deep blue sea. Anywhere you turn, you see despair as a result of pervasive corruption which has been taken to another level by the current regime.

      Kudos to the bold senator but he should not expect anything concrete from his suggestions because our elites all know how to jealously guard their stolen wealth. The same oil well owners are in collaboration with their counterparts in other regions and the proceeds are shared with them. The system will remain the same unless Nigerians say no.

  • concernednigerian

    No wonder Northerners are fighting to take the presidency – their birthright so that they can plunder the Niger Delta all the more. We want to hear from Governor Aliyu and others why they have made the Presidency so uncomfortable for Jonathan. Are the Northerners more Nigerians than the rest of the people in the country? I have no doubt more will be revealed and we shall get to the bottom of why the presidency should ‘return to the Noth in 2015’.

  • ODUA

    This the true face of the place called nigeria,the oil owners are eatening gari,while the parasites are eatening fresh fish, and going abroad for medical check up every month,REVOLUTION NOW

  • awyen

    Revoke and allocate to who? What is the basis and objective of this line of argument? We won’t achieve any positive result with arguments based on ethnic bigotry and selfish ambition. Better and more rationale argument should be put forward for our national interest please.

    • p town man

      Be sensitive. For 40 years just man is controlling and own oil wells and you think its good like that? Well, i think it shd be allocationed to you.