Contrary to the resolution reached today 5th July in Lagos at the meeting of all Southern Nigeria Governors where they rejected the 3% allotted to Oil Producing Communities in the draft of the Petroleum Industry Bill – PIB passed by the Senate recently, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio while addressing newsmen today in Abuja during a Town Hall meeting on the Destruction of Oil Pipelines and Gas Infrastructure organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture at NAF Conference Center, made an adverse demand.
Driving on a parallel trajectory, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs said:
“Let me appeal to my former colleagues in the National Assembly to pass the PIB Bill into law so that the people of the region will begin to have a new lease of life. Let them not allow the argument on the percentage delay the passage of the bill. Whatever you agree on, we will accept. At least, let us start from some where”.
“It is not the percentage that matters. The bill has been there for over 20 years. I am speaking for the Niger Delta people. Let them not use the issue of percentage to delay the passage. No matter the percentage approved, we will accept it, whether 3, 4 or even 5 percent. If they use it well, we can go back to demand for an increase”, Senator Akpabio said.
Senator Akpabio’s posture which is part of the Press Statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom is adverse to the resolutions of the Southern Governors who rejected the 3% allotted to Oil Producing Communities.
Beside asking the National Assembly to increase the compensation from 3% to 5% the Southern Governors Forum also rejected the 30% annual profit of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – NNPC given a new name known as “Frontier Exploration” in the PIB which shall be allotted to States around Lake Chad Basin meaning Borno and adjoining States, while the South which produces Oil and Gas that keep Nigeria standing have zero allocation given to it.
The communiqué issued at the end the Southern Governors meeting and signed by Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN, Chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum reads in part:
“Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Law:
i. The Forum commends the National Assembly for the progress made in the passage of the PIB;
ii. the Forum rejects the proposed 3% and support the 5% share of the oil revenue to the host community as recommended by the House of Representatives;
iii. the forum also rejects the proposed 30% share of profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins;
iv. However, the forum rejects the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC). The Forum disagrees that the company be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but should be held in trust by Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of Government have stakes in that vehicle”.
But Senator Akpabio who says he is speaking the mind of the people of Niger Delta disagreed with the governors and had appealed that the Bill be passed into law as it is, claiming that the Bill is over twenty years old, hence it should be endorsed.