The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), has described the decision of the House of Representatives to make the Petroleum Industry Bill cover the whole of Nigeria as ridiculous and a slap on the face of the oil bearing communities of the Niger-Delta region.
The House recently expanded the application of the Petroleum Host Community Fund in the PIB to cover all states where there is oil refinery or oil pipelines. It also reduced the percentage of the host community fund from 10 to 7. 5.
Reacting to the development on Friday, the IYC’s spokesman, Eric Omare, said that the decision was a deliberate attempt to frustrate the implementation of the bill.
He noted that the provision for the petroleum host community fund was not included in the PIB for the fun of it but to ameliorate the effects of oil gas operations in the host communities.
The group said it totally rejected both the reduction in the oil community fund from 10% to 7.5% and the expansion of the meaning of oil communities.
Specifically, IYC said that the definition of oil bearing communities and states in Nigeria is not in doubt, adding however that the National Assembly via the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act Cap N86, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 has already defined oil producing communities and the states.
The group said it found it ridiculous that the House was finding it difficult to define oil producing communities or giving another definition from what is already contained in the NDDC Act.
“To give another definition of oil producing communities side by side with the definition in the NDDC Act amounts to complete illegality, legislative rascality and incompetence”, the IYC postulated.
The group warned those it called enemies of the Niger Delta not to take for granted the collective resolve of the region to let peace reign, adding that it would resist any attempt to enslave the region.
“The IYC has noted the deliberate attempts by the some sections of Nigeria to provoke the Niger Delta region to action at all cost. We call on Niger Deltans to be alert as the days ahead may be rough for the region.We must resist the resolve of the enemies of the region to enslave us at all cost,” it said.
The group added: “The IYC also calls on the Senate to reject the House of Representatives’ version of the Petroleum Industry Bill and revert to the original provision of 10% for host communities which are already defined in the NDDC Act”.