A group, Women in Energy Oil and Gas, is demanding more representation in the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other oil bodies in the industry.
The group was one of many major oil groups that took turns to make thier recommendations at the Senate public hearing for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on Tuesday, being the second and final day.
Having suffered setbacks for almost 20 years, the PIB was transmitted to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
Public hearing, a necessary stage in the process of bill passage, was organised by the Senate joint committees on petroleum upstream, downstream and gas – where relevant companies and groups were invited to make input.
In their presentation, the Women in Energy Oil and Gas did not only query the lack of gender representation in the bill, it also demanded that the name of the legislation be changed to ‘Energy Industry Bill.’
This is because the world has moved beyond petroleum towards energy, Oladunni Owo, representative of the group, explained.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, she queried how the industry has not explored “untapped reserve” which is women and stressed the need to close the gender gap.
“We want to have women representation in governing bodies. We have the NNPC governing council, there is no single woman in that board. It is a one sided decision thing. We also want to get input from women. It is not about feminism or trying to compete with the men, it is by us ensuring that everyone is carried along and we get full benefits,” she said.
The NNPC, which she made reference to, currently/ has only two women of the 10-member board.
“In the entire bill, women are only mentioned twice. (There is) no mention of female or girl in the entire 248 paged bill. That is critical. If you train a woman, the woman will tell the boy, don’t vandalize that pipeline,” she continued.
Ms Oladunni also demanded full integrations of all streams which she said is because Nigeria does not get the full benefits of that oil and gas and then “imports back every other thing.”
“We treated oil and gas as a typical buy and sell commodity as against treating it as a transformational resource that will affect our educational resource, human resource, infrastructure,” she explained.
She further urged the federal government to leverage on the African Continental Free Trade agreement. The bill, she said, doesn’t show anything that Nigeria wants to capitalise or cash in on that agreement.
For the Egbema and Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF), which was created by the tripartite GMoU between the Delta State Government, Chevron Nigeria Limited and Communities of Egbema and Gbaramatu Kingdoms in the state, they want the agreement to be sustained.
Francis Abulu, who represented the chairperson of the group, Jude Ukori, said the GMoU has been successfully operated for more than a decade without one party having overriding powers over the other.
“It is important to note that similar GMoU arrangements exist between oil companies and host communities all over the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Our desire is to improve on this functional mechanism for managing communities and oil multinational relationship,” he said.
He opposed Section 257 (2) & (3) of the bill, which stipulates that communities shall forfeit entitlements to the extent of repairs where there is an act of vandalism or sabotage.
This, he said, is because there are several reasons or factors that could be responsible for damage to oil facilities or disruption of oil company operations neither caused by the host communities nor within the control of the host communities.
He also asked the lawmakers to scrap the Sections 235, 247, 249 and 251 which seek to create governance structures like Board of Trustees, Management Committee, Advisory Committee and the Settlor (Oil Companies).
“These administrative structures are unnecessary and would not aid the development of the host communities. The implication of these bureaucratic structures is that all the time and resources would be spent on bureaucracy at the expense of the speedy development of the host and impacted communities.”
He further recommended that the bill should not provide uniform governance structure for all the impacted communities, rather, the different oil producing communities have their peculiarities.
On funding, he said the contribution of oil companies to the funding of oil producing communities’ development fund should be tied to the quantity or amount of production from first oil or commencement of production or before production at the point of exploration – and also pegged at 10 per cent Operation
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