The Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District and former governor has described last week’s passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the 9th National Assembly as most unwise, saying it was a recipe for anarchy.
Speaking at a press conference with the Senate Press Corps, yesterday, he said the Niger Delta Host Communities have been short-changed, noting that the development may not guarantee peace in the region.
He said, “As you know last week, we commenced our recess and there’s a need for this interaction and I think, this is what you are going to see at the end of every session.
“I want to highlight my views and positions which I think you are all familiar on the two concluded legislative works and I feel strongly bad about these bills.
“You are aware that I led a group of Senators to leave the Chamber in order not to lend our names on legislation that is oppressive; legislation that is insensitive; legislation that doesn’t serve the nation; legislation that doesn’t address the yearning and aspirations of the people that own the oil resources of the country.
“It was the late President Umar Yar’Adua that sent the first bill to the National Assembly. That PIB work started from Obasanjo’s time.
“Under Obasanjo’s time, the late Alfred Lukman was the petroleum minister when this bill came. The bill proposed 10% for host communities’ development and 10% for frontier development.
“Unfortunately, the bill could not be passed all these years. Now we are happy that the National Assembly has been able to break that jinx or something that look like it.
“As you know, I disagree completely and most of us disagreed completely and of course, you know the history that the Senate passes 3% and the House of Representatives passes 5% and then the Conference Committee came up with 3%.
“This country isn’t helping itself; this country is not even helping investors; this is not helping host communities that will enable investors to come in and the argument is that anything above 3% the investors will not come and so what?
”If the host communities are not happy, will the investors come? If the host communities do not have stakes in oil exploration and exploitation will there be peace? Not only that investors will not come but those who are already here will leave.
”Senate did not take a wise decision because you are not dealing with one community, we are dealing with hundreds of communities. Don’t forget that now that even transit communities have a stake. I know why some people are arguing that some pipeline transit communities should be part of it, because if you exclude pipeline communities, they can sabotage entire operations.
“It’s not a question of percentage; it’s a question of proper discretion at the level of management. It requires a lot of thinking, a lot of skill in the management of host communities.
“The host communities know and the world knows that 10% equity development fund was proposed for them and no one is engaging them and no one is explaining anything to them.”
The lawmaker said he walked out of the presidential dinner with some senators who were angry despite persuasion from the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan.
FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil
In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.
FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.
Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m
The Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects in 2021 approved budget.
This approval followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the assembly, had moved a motion asking the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing a number of developmental projects.
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