A fresh condition has been attached to the ongoing efforts aimed at finding lasting solution to the crisis rocking the oil producing region of the Niger Delta.
This is as stakeholders have demanded that urgent attention be paid on passing into law the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), failure of which they would withdraw participation.
Rising from an emergency meeting in Warri, Delta State on Monday, the Niger Delta Elders Forum said they were being frustrated in their efforts at securing lasting peace from the militant groups by many factors, prominent among them being delay in passage of the PIB.
A spokesman of the group, Chief Jacob Iberisime denied the allegation that the host communities of the oil companies were giving hard condition to be included in the bill.
He said: “We frown at the fact that everything possible is being done for the various militant groups to embrace dialogue, despite all our losses, but similar sacrifices are not being made by other interest groups, including the National Assembly, evidence of it being its inability to pass the bill.”
But Senate’s spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, had alleged that the bill was suffering its slow pace in passage due to “the sensitive issues from the host community.”
Abdullahi, who refused to name those conditions, however said despite that, the PIB when passed will liberate the oil sector to the expected level of development.
He neither gave a date on when the nation will have the bill included in the law book, but added that the committee on the bill would soon reconcile the position of the host communities, those of the government and the oil exploring firms.
Though he promised that full attention would be paid to the bill when the Senate resumes from break, indications are that this may not be so, as there are still many huddles to pass before the bill sails through the rough waters.
An oil expert, Mr. Gab Osuagwu, said the inability of the various interest groups to allow the bill have some semblance to similar ones in other climes had been the issue withholding it from seeing the light of the day.
He said the main contending issue was the additional funds to be released to the host communities in addition to the 13 per cent derivation paid to the various states in the region.
According to him, oil producing regions in some African countries like Libya and Angola are given some preferences in allocating resources from oil.
“Both the policy makers and legislators are aware of this, but why it cannot be allowed to operate in Nigeria is difficult to understand”, he stated
By Emma Eke….
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