Stakeholders mainly from the northern part of the country have called on President Muhammdu Buhari to sign the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB) into law.
The stakeholders have also urged the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Host and Impacted Communities Development Bill (PHICDB) as well as the two other components of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the end of the current 8th assembly.
The stakeholders made these demands as part of a communiqué released at the end of a one day Host Community (HostCom) Colloquium organized by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative in Abuja on Thursday, July 12, 2018.
While acknowledging the “urgent need to fill the existing lacuna in the law which has left host and impacted communities short-changed over the years,” the stakeholders expressed unanimity that the PHICDB is “a step in the right direction” in spite of observed inadequacies in the bill.
The 15-point communiqué identified with the host and impacted community bill based on the need for communities to “have a sense of shared ownership and prosperity as well as shared obligation for the protection of facilities” and stressed that “the 8th National Assembly must consider it a sacrosanct duty, the passage of the PHICDB before the expiration of its tenure next year” as well as “passage of the remaining components of the PIB in order to holistically fix the challenges of the petroleum and gas sector.”
The stakeholders however called for “increased advocacy by the media, civil society and the general citizenry to get the pending bills passed and for the general industry reforms to be completed irrespective of the convenience of the political class as it relates to the electoral cycle.”
While noting “the challenges of development, despoliation and despair in the Niger Delta,” the stakeholders were emphatic that the PHICDB must avoid same pitfalls and scenarios “in areas in the upper Niger region of the country where exploration activities occur or would exist in the future.”
Among other issues canvassed, the stakeholders called for “transparency and accountability in the management of resources at the various tiers of government- federal, state and local government,” noting that such would “engender good governance and development of communities.”
They also resolved for “all groups and citizens to come forward with their views/positions on the PHICDB irrespective of their differences, divides and impressions hitherto held and strongly canvassed the need for “continuing engagement on the Bill and general industry reforms by stakeholders across board.”
Stakeholders were drawn from the legislature, academia, civil society and community based organizations in the north including Kaduna, Gombe, Zamfara, Plateau, Niger and Adamawa States. Participants at the colloquium also included industry experts, operators, security agencies and the media, among others.
The colloquium was chaired by Hon. Alhassan Doguwa, Chief Whip of the House of Representatives and Chairman of the ad-hoc community on PIB while the communiqué was signed by Oke Epia, Executive Director of OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative.