The Senate has again disappointed already agitated and anxious Niger Delta people as it shamelessly shifted the time for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) from this year to the first quarter of 2018.
In moving the passage to next year, the Senate argued that the National Assembly has a lot of work to do in order to ensure the early passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill just presented to it by President Muhammadu Buhari, last Tuesday.
According to the Senate, lawmakers will have to shift attention to the 2018 Appropriation Bill presented to the National Assembly by Buhari, a development that will delay the ongoing process required for the passage of the PIB.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, explained that although the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had earlier in the year stated that he wanted the PIB to be passed in 2017, the present circumstance on ground had shown that the passage of the bill would not happen until 2018.
Alasoadura, who spoke, last Wednesday at the ongoing 7th Practical Nigerian Content Forum, told participants at the event that the increased call for the passage of the PIB was not misplaced considering its significance to the oil sector, but insisted that it would not happen this year despite the more than 14 years of delay.
He said, “The PIB will be passed in the first quarter of next year, and this is because of the budget that was presented to the National Assembly by the President on Tuesday. He (Buhari) asked us to do all we can in order to pass the budget before the end of this year.
“So, there is much work to be done by the National Assembly on the budget, and as a result of this, we won’t or may not have all the time to go through all that is needed for the passage of the PIB before the end of this year.
“The Senate president wants it to be done before the end of this year, but I have to be practical. For us to have the budget in place, I think we need to concentrate on its passage so that its implementation can also take effect in good time.”
Alasoadura admitted that the passage of the PIB had been delayed for so long and corroborated the argument of the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote that the bill needed to be passed, whether in good or bad shape.
Meanwhile, another militant group, the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC), yesterday, recanted on the ceasefire it declared, a year ago, saying that the grace given to the Federal Government to conclude genuine negotiations with leaders of the region has elapsed.
Consequently, the NDRC said it was now ready more than ever before to join forces with the Niger Delta Avengers to decimate oil and gas facilities in the region and decapitate the nation’s economy.
In a statement by the spokesperson, W. O. I. Izon-Ebi, the group directed Nigerians and expatriates working at Agbami, Akpo, Usan, Erna, Abo, Yoho, Unity and Benga FPSO, platforms operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited, Total, Mobil, Agip and Shell to vacate the platforms without further delay.
It cautioned the companies to immediately accede to the warning as “their safety can no longer be guaranteed by the gods of the rivers and land,” adding that in the next few days and weeks, the campaign to destroy oil and gas installations in the region would commence without any further notice.
It would be recalled that the dreaded Niger Delta Avengers, which also a year ago, suspended hostilities against oil installations in the region to enable the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), proceed with meaningful dialogue with the Federal Government, had last Friday, announced suspension of their unilateral ceasefire.
In a statement by its spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, the group renounced activities of PANDEF, led by former federal commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clark, ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, and another militant group, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, saying that such activities were inimical to the speedy resolution of the issues tabled before the Federal Government.
The statement said, “The Niger Delta Avengers are back and will not spare anything or anyone on our path to actualize a united and free Niger Delta.
“Our next line of operation will not be like the 2016 campaign, which we operated successfully without any casualties. This outing will be brutish, brutal and bloody, as we are shall crush everything we meet on our path to completely put off the fires that burn to flair gas in our communities and cut every pipe that moves crude away from our region.
“We can assure you that every oil installation in our region will feel warmth of the wrath of the Niger Delta Avengers,” he said.
Earlier this week, the Niger Delta Avengers volunteered to lead security forces to where Tompolo was hiding, having been declared wanted by the military, last year.
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Calls To Head COVID-19 Team Handiwork Of Mischief Makers Says Rivers State Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Banigo
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has dissociated herself from calls by mischief makers urging the Governor to let her head the COVID 19 Team in the State.
In a statement from the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday, the Deputy Governor expressed regret that despite the concerted efforts by Governor Wike to protect the Rivers People and stem the spread of Covid 19, some faceless enemies of the State sponsor e-rats to publish junk in the social media, what an absurd way to play politics.
The Deputy Governor of Rivers State is a part and parcel of the Governors team in this fight against the Killer Virus and she is contributing her quota, she must not head the team. There is no law that says she should head the team so why the fuss.
Governor Wike is the leader and he has demonstrated great capacity and leadership in the Country not only in the quest to defeat Covid 19 but in providing democratic dividends to the Rivers People and beyond.
Governor Wike was the first to close his boarders even before the Federal Government thought of it, decontamination of public places is on-going, he has put strict restriction on social gathering, imposed lockdown, curfews, provided all the necessary logistics for health professionals to do their jobs efficiently, intensified public enlightenment campaigns, etc.
What these mischief makers and their political sponsors do not realize is the fact that Covid 19 is not just a Medical or Public Health issue. It goes far beyond health, it is also a security as well as a Socio -economic and political issue, so flaunting the resume’ of Dr. Banigo as a Public Health Physician
and urging Governor Wike to make her head the team is an exercise in futility.
We are facing a novel corona virus; Covid 19 pandemic which no one knows enough about. It is a war and we must all be on board to fight it. This is not the time for distractions.
Please obey all the protocols as elucidated by NCDC and the Rivers State Government which includes the correct wearing of face masks, regular washing of hands with soap and running water as well as the use of alcohol based hand sanitizers, improve personal hygiene, avoiding crowded environment and stop stigmatization of people with the virus. Together we will win the war against Covid 19.
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