Buhari has demonstrated that he is unconcerned about the suffering of the people of the Niger Delta by putting PIB into law –PANDEF
The Pan Niger Delta Forum has chastised President Muhammadu Buhari (retd) for signing into law the contentious Petroleum Industry Bill 2021. Despite the enormous protest of the people of the South-South zone, the President went ahead and signed the PIB into law, the group lead by elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark said it is a very “sad and horrible day” for Nigeria. PANDEF had pressed on a ten percent equity share for host communities, rejecting the three percent allotted to them in the recently approved Petroleum Industry Act.
In an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, PANDEF spokesman Ken Robinson said, “It plainly exposes the Buhari administration’s contempt for the views and worries of the Niger Delta people.” He spoke just minutes after Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, announced that the controversial bill had been signed into law on Monday.
“Working from home in five days quarantine as required by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 after returning from London on Friday, August 13, the President assented to the Bill Monday, August 16, in his determination to fulfill his constitutional duty,” Adesina said in a statement titled, “President Buhari Signs Petroleum Industry Bill Into Law.” “On Wednesday, once the days of mandatory isolation have been completed, the ceremonial element of the new legislation will be completed. The Petroleum Sector Act establishes a legal, governance, regulatory, and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, host community development, and other associated topics. “On July 15, 2021, the Senate passed the Bill, and the House of Representatives followed suit on July 16, putting an end to a long wait that began in the early 2000s and achieving yet another high for the Buhari administration.” In a phone chat with our correspondent on Monday, PANDEF reacted by saying that the President had no empathy for the people of the Niger Delta, who continue to endure environmental degradation as a result of oil development in the region.
“It is really sad that, notwithstanding the outcry and condemnation that greeted the pitiful 3% granted for the development of host communities and the outrageous 30% of the NNPC limited earnings allocated for the discovery of oil in the frontiers,” a representative for the group stated. “It is unfortunate that Mr. President has decided to sign the bill into law. “It is a fact that this country is unconcerned with the feelings, dreams, and goals of the people of the Niger Delta, while our environment and ecology continue to be neglected and degraded.
“Our children’s livelihoods have been destroyed, and we are suffering the repercussions of this industry operating in our environment with an unsympathetic government whose authorities are failing to enforce the defective laws designed to safeguard the environment from the sector’s operations. “It is a really sad day for the people of the Niger Delta.” According to Robinson, Niger Delta parties will convene in the coming days to make a decision.