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PIB: 10% or ‘forget’ peace, security in N-Delta, – Clark, HOSTCOM

PIB: 10% or 'forget' peace, security in N-Delta, - Clark, HOSTCOM

FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and the leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Edwin Clark has again faulted Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, recently passed into law by the National Assembly.

 

He warned that anything short of 10 per cent as the actual annual operating expenditure of the preceding financial year in the upstream petroleum operations affecting the host communities for funding of the Host Communities Trust Fund, peace and security might not guarantee peace in the Niger Delta.

 

Speaking at his Asokoro residence, Abuja, when he received the leadership and members of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSTCOM, led by the National President, Benjamin Style Tamanarebi, Clark reiterated that the newly passed PIB, ready for harmonization was obnoxious, devilish and must not be accepted.

PIB: 10% or 'forget' peace, security in N-Delta, - Clark, HOSTCOM
PIB: 10% or ‘forget’ peace, security in N-Delta, – Clark, HOSTCOM

According to VANGUARD, both Clark and Tamanarebi said what the host communities wanted was 10 per cent equity in order to guarantee the investments and the safety of Investors as well as peace in the area, arguing that the people rejected the present bill in its entirety because they wanted to be part of the process.

 

 


Clark, who is also the South South and Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, leader, said he agreed in totality with the position and reactions by HOSTCOM on the PIB.

 

He said Niger Delta people have been talking about taking own destiny in their hands, adding that very soon, it would come to pass.

 

‘’We are not second class citizens in this country. I discovered that everything was manipulated in the PIB by the the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.

 

“We want to be part of the operation, let us be part of what is going on in our area which is killing us, our ecosystem, our fishes. I have had enough of these insults. The Federal Government must account for who are the owners of oil blocs and who are the marketers.

 

‘’The equity share must be 10 per cent for host communities and we will continue to reject it until they make us part of it.”

 

Earlier in his presentation, the National President of HOSTCOM, who presented the group’s position paper to Chief Edwin Clark, said the Senate and House of Representatives must harmonise and arrive at 10 per cent equity fund for the host communities and slash to 10 per cent, the 30 per cent approved for Frontier Basins development.

 

 


Tamanarebi said: “We have noted with dismay the manner the inputs of the host communities have been completely jettisoned, depriving the communities their participatory rights and sustainable development through immoral and secret review of the draft bill by NASS, industry players without the invitation of HostCom nor take into cognizance the inputs of Hostcom.

 

‘’More vexatious is not considering the critical areas in the clauses regarding the host communities as the above subject refers.

 

“Host communities inputs of critical areas in the passed bill as submitted on the floor of public hearing in both houses Adhoc joint committees, even during the Town Hall meetings of both Houses, were criminally jettisoned, depriving the communities their participatory rights and sustainable development more so, the immoral and secret importation of draconic clauses into the enacted PIB in the aspect that affects us as follows:

‘’That the report of the Senate joint Committee, especially the aspect concerning section 234, deals with the Host Communities Sustainable Development title, while 234(4d) deal with the Objectives regarding the Trust Fund was wholly jettisoned. What was the justification for inviting only the industry players without the host communities to review the PIB for passage if it was to ensure transparency, efficient legal framework, good governance, accountability and industry sustainable development for a favorable working environment.

PIB: 10% or 'forget' peace, security in N-Delta, - Clark, HOSTCOM
PIB: 10% or ‘forget’ peace, security in N-Delta, – Clark, HOSTCOM

“Chapter 1, section 1. was incomplete as it fails to include “in trust for and on behalf of the Producing Host Communities of Nigeria” as was in the Mining Lease Act. 3) The title in Chapter Three section 234 “Host Communities Development” should be revisited to include “Host Community Sustainable Development.”

 

 


“Section 234 subsection 1(d) deals with the creation of a framework to support the development of host communities, which should also be revisited and amended as submitted. 234 section 4 was a new clause inserted into the bill without the knowledge of host communities.

 

‘’It deals with the word settlor and funds reduction for the trust fund. The word settlor is against the interest of host communities. Therefore, we demand that the bill be revisited and the word “Settlor” amended as operating companies or International Oil Companies, IOC, as submitted.

 

“Section 235 subsection(3) deals with the definition of a host community; where the operating company shall determine who is a host community. The determining of a host community cannot contravene the UNFCCC CDM Projects international best practices, standard and criteria.

 

‘’Therefore, we demand that the draft PIB section 235 (3) be revisited and amended to read as: Host Communities are determined in accordance with the EU energy security which is international standard for best field practice.

 

“Since there is no clear definition of host community and Section 242 deals with the IOC appointing Board of Trustees to have the right to set-up procedures for meetings, financial regulations and administrative procedures to be approved by the commission.

 

‘’In relation to the aforementioned, we demand that the bill be revisited and amended as it should be the responsibility of the community to select/elect their representatives under the watch of the operating companies or their representatives respectively as observers.

 

“Section 240 deals with the 3.5% Opex instead of the 10% equity share holding: The passed draft PIB needs to be revisited and amended to uphold the 10% equity share holding as demanded, for transparency, accountability and a sustainable development of the oil and gas industry.

 

‘’9) Part 111 section 111. subsection (4) deals with 30% for frontier acreage share of profit for the frontier exploration of oil and gas; since it was a commercial venture, it should be left for the private investors and not with the federation account.

 

‘’Here again, this is the section that was initially allocated 10% which was recommended to be expunged and now jerked up to 30% as against the 10% equity share holding demanded by the host communities.

 

‘’In the past, billions of the nation’s resources were swallowed in those frontier services without potential positive results, the Chad Basin and the Benue trough experiences are still fresh. The enormous waste of resources recorded over many years, led to the discontinuance of exploration activities at the Chad Basin.

 

 


‘’The frontier acreage should be added as a condition compelling concession benefactors an incentive with tax exemption to those who have already benefitted from field concessions.

 

“ Part 111: section 111, the Governing Board of the commission made no mention of host communities representative. It is necessary that HostCom representatives be represented in all agencies set up to regulate and monitor the petroleum industry.

 

‘’Section 52.(7a) deals with the gas midstream infrastructural fund which was initially proposed for 1%, was recommended to be expunged as there are already funds appropriated by the National Assembly on a first line charge, in addition to four other sources of funds has now been increased to 2.5% of petroleum whole sale price.

 

‘’This is an additional burden to the suffering of Nigerian citizens; therefore, we recommend that the 2.5% charge be expunged.

 

“Sections 103 and 104 deal with gas flare penalties and environmental mitigation and remediation to paid to the gas midstream infrastructural fund instead of the Host Communities Sustainable Development Trust Fund for the remediation of the ravaged environment.

PIB: 10% or 'forget' peace, security in N-Delta, - Clark, HOSTCOM
PIB: 10% or ‘forget’ peace, security in N-Delta, – Clark, HOSTCOM

“In relation to Article 257(2) the host communities are strongly apposed to that section of the bill because it is not only oppressive but also against international best practices and standards. This is in view of the fact that Settlors employ contractors who are in-charge of security/surveillance of their oil & gas facilities and as such, the host communities should not be held liable.

 

‘’In the event that that portion of the bill is retained, then the security/surveillance contracts of the oil and gas facilities should be awarded to the host communities to manage/engage their indigenes to fully police the facilities and in the event that any of them are vandalized, the communities could then be made to forfeit their development fund as specified in the bill.”

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