Socially relevant and need-meeting organisations in partnership with civil society movements have called on Nigerians to massively reject the long-expected PIB as it has failed to address fundamental issues.
Rather the organisations said that the outcome of PIB was mischievous and would compound the problems of the communities, just as it would create another avenue to make the rich even richer while the suffering communities continue to languish in difficulty and poverty.
The coalition group said the PIB “failed to properly address the lingering issues of the oil and gas host communities” submitting that the recent position on critical issues is a far cry from the yearnings of oil and gas host communities.
“The current version of the Petroleum Industry Bill failed to address community, economic and environmental concerns. We have convened this briefing and dialogue to review the state of our environment including the contentious PIB” The group explained during a media briefing in Lagos.
The coalition said all the professional and well-informed input which they gave for adequate management of the sector was discarded.
Said the group “it is important to note that civil society organizations in the country, including those here today have historically engaged the PIB process in efforts to ensure that the final outcome reflects the popular thinking of Nigerians, not just on the economy of oil and gas, but also on the outlook of the country beyond oil.
“Indeed, we have engaged communities and the National Assembly presented Memos for consideration and produced detailed reports recommending adjustments to the different drafts that have been considered.
“It is pertinent to note that we did same in this recent effort. Unfortunately, it is regretful that our suggestions which emanate from a long history of work on the sector, engagements with stakeholders including oil-producing communities, and established international best practices have not been taken seriously in the Bills passed by both chambers of the National Assembly”.
The groups in a statement also raised serious concerns on critical issues relating to Community Responsibility for Protection of Oil Facilities, Gas Flaring, lack of community trust on the present template, Frontier Basins, Climate Change and Changing Times among others.
According to the statement “On the Host Communities Trust the Bill specifically makes the incorporation of this trust the exclusive responsibility of the oil companies operating in the area, and gives oil companies overriding powers to decide who become members of the trust and other governance structures. This is unacceptable.
“On gas flaring the PIB makes the flaring of gas illegal. However, it creates a series of exemptions that basically ensures that the same gas flare regime continues literarily unchecked.
“We strongly recommend the introduction of a clause which affirms the outlawing of gas flaring and requires that offenders pay the full economic cost of the flared gas as well as the related health and environmental costs.
“Sadly, it is noteworthy that the entire PIB expresses no intention for moving Nigeria away from dependence on fossils. At a time when the world is moving away from crude oil, the PIB is planning to make more investments in that regard. This indicates that the government is not keeping in tandem with global trends.
“The provisions and proposals in the PIB are also indicative of the fact that the Nigerian government is unperturbed by concerns of global warming and climate change.