A socio-cultural group in Nigeria, the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU), has weighed in on the outrage over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) recently passed by the National Assembly.
One of the contentious portions in the bill is the percentage of share to be allocated to oil producing communities.
While the House of Representatives recommended 5 per cent as equity holding for the host communities, senators pushed for 3 per cent.
The original bill brought to the Senate by the Executive was 2.5 per cent for the funding of the Host Communities Trust Fund.
The Urhobo Progressive Union in a statement on Monday said anything less than 20 per cent was unacceptable.
“The UPU hereby joins the Oil-Bearing Host Communities in rejecting the 3% granted to Oil-Bearing Host communities and Pipe-line Bearing Host Communities and restates our demand for a minimum of 20%.
“We reject the indistinct omnibus definition of host communities and other aspects of the bill,” the group said in the statement signed by its President-General, Joe Omene.
The group described the bill passed separately by both chambers of the National Assembly as “a pregnant elephant that delivered a mouse.”
It said it was an unjust legislation meant to “deprive and enslave the people of the Niger-Delta of their God given resources.”
The group urged federal lawmakers from southern Nigeria to boycott a joint session where the bill would be passed.
“If they participate in that joint session to pass it, history shall record it and so shall all those who participated shall be remembered by history,” Mr Omene said.
A former minister, Edwin Clerk described the bill, as passed, as “satanic and unjust”, and said oil companies may be stopped from their production activities if the percentage of revenue allocated to oil communities is not reviewed upward.
Southern governors in their meeting on Monday in Lagos rejected the three per cent proposed for the host communities; they said five per cent share would have been better.
Senate set up PIB harmonisation committee
Meanwhile, the Senate President , Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, set up a seven-member committee in the Senate to meet with the House of Representatives for the harmonisation of the different versions of the bill passed by both chambers.
According to a report by Punch newspaper, the committee is headed by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).
Other members are Sabo Nakudu (Jigawa), Albert Bassey (Akwa Ibom), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central), Stella Oduah ( Anambra), and Gabriel Suswan (Benue).
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