By Our Reporter
A Niger Delta stakeholder, Elder Simeon Inabiebu, at the weekend in Abuja, faulted the position of a Niger Delta group over its decision to oppose and reject the 3 percent provision for the host communities in the newly signed Petroleum Industry Act by the president.
Inabiebu who said that his Adamikiri community in Okrika Local Government of Rivers state has thirty five (35) oil wells, counseled the group not to tow that line as the host communities can start from there which in his thinking, is better compared to the past when there was nothing accruing from the industry.
He lamented that even the 13 percent derivation to the oil producing states have not impacted on the host communities and therefore, appealed to the group which berated the minister of state, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva to sheath their sword.
He posits that rather than blame their son, Sylva and president Muhammadu Buhari for what they termed inadequate provision, the duo should rather be commended and celebrated for making the bill see the light of the day as the host communities had never had it so good.
He argued that whereas, his community has that much, it does not fare well in infrastructural development as the oil companies operating in the area only allow them to handle petty contracts and small time employment opportunities.
Inabiebu who is a player in the oil and gas sector explained that with the statutory three percent that will now go straight to the host communities, it will be easier for them to priortise their challenges and fix them as they emerge.
He further posits that the PIA is subject to review after some years which will give the region an ample time to lobby for an increase until it gets to 5 to 10 percent threshold. He insisted that the 3 percent that is in the Act now, can make a good beginning as several billions of Naira have been lost since the law had not been passed by previous administrations.
He stated that as a man who believes in fairness and equity, every stakeholder should embrace what he termed as a new dawn in the oil sector and support it so that in no time, the region and the environmental challenges will be adequately taken care of.
The Petroleum Industry Act was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, August 16, 2021 after series of amendments and dialogues which spanned about 20 years from the time it was first introduced. The Act provides legal governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry as well as the development of host communities.