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Rivers lawmaker condemns passed petroleum bill, says it’s sham


A cross-section of parliamentarians during the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja on Thursday (8/10/20). Photo: NAN

Rivers State lawmaker, Farah Dagogo, representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency has condemned the Petroleum Industry Bill recently passed by both chambers of the National Assembly.

In an interview with journalists on Sunday, Dagogo said the PIB “has been received with mixed feelings by some prominent personalities in the Niger Delta.”

While he admitted the bill would change the petroleum sector’s landscape if it became law he insisted it is tainted with some irregularities.

Dagogo said, “A critical analysis and review shows that the bill passed leaves more questions than answers for resolving the gamut of challenges associated with the petroleum industry, which first governing law was enacted in 1969.

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“So, the answer to your questions, with all intents and purposes, is that the core content of the passed bill could be regarded as a sham and a bogus display of an infamous fluke orchestrated by the majority against the minority, whose land and people are afflicted amidst affluence.

“It demonstrates the unending reasons for the vociferous calls for restructuring because of disorder and injustice that currently permeate the Nigerian state. Indeed, it was a ploy to further rob Peter and pay Paul.”

When asked about the grey areas in the PIB, the lawmaker said, “A critique of the passed bill shows some enervating factors that are highly disturbing: First, the Senate’s reduction of compensations payment for host communities from 5 per cent to 3 per cent, against the cries and appeals of southern senators; second, the redefinition of host community to mean any “community that oil pipeline passes through.”

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“By implication, host communities will now imply (that) all states that do not even produce oil but have oil pipelines passing through them. Before now, host communities were communities that produce oil or have petroleum facilities/installations in their land.”

Dagogo added, “The passed bill also has a jargon known as ‘Frontier Exploration’ for which the bill has provided 30 per cent of NNPC profits to be servicing these ‘Frontier Explorations’ yearly. This, I dare say, is over-ambitious and very unsustainable. My constituents interpret this to mean that a certain percentage of revenue, say hypothetically 30 per cent from mines or gold from the North is set aside for gold and mine exploration from the ocean in the South.

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“How do you justify this bare faced farce? You get the point? It is just another avenue of exacerbating corruption and appears to be a desideratum to fraud. This does not guarantee the fiscal direction and original intent of the bill, which seeks to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry and the development of host communities.”