BY PRINCELY ONYENWE, IMO
Governor Ikpeazu of Abia state has given nod to the Committee for the initiative to talk to Nigerians on the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill, noting that the major problem in Nigeria has been the issue of trust.
In a brief with the press over the weekend, the Governor expressed happiness that the State will be one of the States that could benefit more from the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill because of the peaceful disposition of her oil-producing communities.
The Governor expressed this view when he received a delegation of the National Assembly Joint Ad-hoc Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill at Government House, Umuahia.
The Governor said that Abia has the record of being the most peaceful Oil Producing State as there has never been any face-off between oil-producing communities and oil companies operating in the State.
Ikpeazu regretted that despite the cooperation shown by the companies, the State gets little or nothing in return, leaving the oil-producing communities neglected.
He however lamented that the oil companies who do business in the State do not pay taxes in Abia but rather reside in a neighbouring State from where they come to Abia with the help of heavily armed security guards to do their business and leave.
The Governor, while admitting that there is a need to talk to the people, pointed out that many Nigerians do not believe the government and stressed the need for the government to encourage the people to believe her more.
He added that by so doing, Nigerians will feel carried along and that would help assuage fray nerves. He also emphasized the need for engagement in value addition on petroleum products as against sole dependence on crude exportation
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, who said that the Committee is covering Abia and Imo States, explained that they were in the State to sensitize Abians on the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill which is an executive bill and what they stand to gain from it.
Senator Akpan said Nigeria as a country, has no choice than to pass the Bill adding, however, that parliament, stakeholders and the executive must all have a consensus.
He explained the main thrust of the Bill is the creation of a Trust Fund for the host oil-bearing communities without government interference, adding that the bill places responsibility on the host community to protect the asset in their vicinity in order to create a balance and stability on their God-given resources.
9News Nigeria noted that the Committee will be visiting the oil-producing areas before departing the State.
Government officials and members of the Committee who took part in the visit include Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Ifeanyi Uba, Senator Bidoun Olujimi while the Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr ACB Agbazuere.
This report has shown that Abians are hopeful of good governance under Ikpeazu watch.
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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