Yesterday the Senate finally passed the “petroleum industry bill” thirteen years after it first graced the National Assembly chambers.
Although several people have been celebrating the action of the Senate as victory for oil producing communities albeit ignorantly, a look into the document passed by the Senate simply shows a democratic coup d’ tat against host communities and a pyrrhic victory for indigenous people that suffer from pollution and degradation of their environment due to oil exploration of their communities.
Firstly, the Senate redefined host communities to include areas where petroleum pipelines pass through contrary to logical reasoning. In the original bill of 2008, host communities are oil producing communities and communities that hosts major oil facilities/installations.
The redefinition of host communities by the Senate simply means that a community in Jigawa or Kano state with pipeline running through it will now enjoy same host community status with a community in Akwa Ibom or Bayelsa states whose soil hosts this oil. In other words, communities that do not produce oil will start enjoying benefit accrued to communities that actually produce oil simply because pipeline pass through their territories.
Furthermore, the Senate cut compensation to host communities from 5% that was in the original bill to 3%. How ridiculous can this be? While I have been of the position that the proposed 5% is ridiculous, the Senate further slashed it to a meagre 3%.
In addition the Senate systematically allocated lump sum of the profit from Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to service Frontier Exploration annually that are located in the north. Meaning, they will enjoy over 30% of NNPC profit annually even when they produce zero oil for now.
It is unfortunate that Nigeria is still in the situation of robbing Abraham to satisfy Ibrahim.
This PIB is nothing but a coup against Ijaw nation and every other oil producing ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. It is pyrrhic to say the least and should be resisted.