A socio-cultural group in Nigeria, the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU), has weighed in on the outrage over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) recently passed by the National Assembly.
One of the contentious portions in the bill is the percentage of share to be allocated to oil producing communities.
While the House of Representatives recommended 5 per cent as equity holding for the host communities, senators pushed for 3 per cent.
The original bill brought to the Senate by the Executive was 2.5 per cent for the funding of the Host Communities Trust Fund.
The Urhobo Progressive Union in a statement last Monday said anything less than 20 per cent was unacceptable.
“The UPU hereby joins the Oil-Bearing Host Communities in rejecting the 3% granted to Oil-Bearing Host communities and Pipe-line Bearing Host Communities and restates our demand for a minimum of 20%.
“We reject the indistinct omnibus definition of host communities and other aspects of the bill,” the group said in the statement signed by its President-General, Joe Omene.
The group described the bill passed separately by both chambers of the National Assembly as “a pregnant elephant that delivered a mouse.”
It said it was an unjust legislation meant to “deprive and enslave the people of the Niger-Delta of their God given resources.”
The group urged federal lawmakers from southern Nigeria to boycott a joint session where the bill would be passed.
“If they participate in that joint session to pass it, history shall record it and so shall all those who participated shall be remembered by history,” Mr Omene said.
A former minister, Edwin Clerk described the bill, as passed, as “satanic and unjust”, and said oil companies may be stopped from their production activities if the percentage of revenue allocated to oil communities is not reviewed upward.
Southern governors in their meeting on Monday in Lagos rejected the three per cent proposed for the host communities; they said five per cent share would have been better.
Senate set up PIB harmonisation committee
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, set up a seven-member committee in the Senate to meet with the House of Representatives for the harmonisation of the different versions of the bill passed by both chambers.
According to a report by Punch newspaper, the committee is headed by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).
Other members are Sabo Nakudu (Jigawa), Albert Bassey (Akwa Ibom), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central), Stella Oduah ( Anambra), and Gabriel Suswan (Benue).
Rotary Club Donates Security Post To Benin Custodial Centre
This is contained in a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSC Aminu Suleman, which was made available to The Tide’s source, weekend, in Benin.
Suleman said the donation was in furtherance of the long existing partnership to support the Custodial Centre in the attainment of the mandate of securing inmates in custody.
The PRO noted that the project was initiated by the Officer In Charge of the Centre, DCC Sikiru Balogun.
According to the statement, the outgoing President of the Club, Rotarian Joseph Ogbemi, “Benin Custodial Centre has long been registered as our pet projects Centre.
“The club will continue to support the Custodial Centre, in spite of several signature projects already donated to it”.
While inaugurating the project, the Controller of Corrections, Ogwude Charles, expressed appreciation to the Club for its humanitarian activities and regular support to the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).
The Controller, represented by the Officer In Charge of the Custodial Centre, DCC Balogun, assured that the project would be put to good use.
He called on the public to partner with the Service for the good of the society.
Present at the event were the President-elect of the Club’s Chapter, Rotarian Cash Nehizena, and the Vice President, Rotarian Edugie Mabel.
Edo Begins Bush Clearing In Public Places
The State Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Jonathan Lawani, told The Tide’s source yesterday that the exercise was aimed at achieving a clean and healthy environment.
According to him, government wishes to take a lead in ensuring bushes in both public and private places in the state are cleared as the rains get intensified.
“As they say, leadership is by example. What we are doing today is to pass a message that cleanliness is next to Godliness, and for this rainy season, we must ensure we clear our environment.
“We know rain comes with grasses growing everywhere with its effect of flood, erosion and bushes in our surroundings.
“We take the initiative to show to the people of Edo that we can do it by maintaining cleaning and healthy environment by clearing the grasses in our environment to ensure Edo State becomes a clean state for all.
“This is a continuous exercise all through the season of rain. For private places, our health and safety officers are going round to serve abatement notice to those who are not clearing the front of their premises.
“We are clearing public places that are government facilities and the roads across the city. I believe you went to Uselu road all through, to University of Benin and the surroundings in the GRA,” he said.
Lawani, an engineer, noted the ministry had directed a similar exercise in all local government areas in the state through the appropriate ministry and organs of government.
“As part of the initiative, we are going to be championing the cleanest city or cleanest local government in Edo state.
“We want to start it during this rainy season, so it becomes a culture and part of our activities on a yearly basis,” the commissioner said.
He also urged the public to ensure proper waste disposal, planting of grasses, flowers and trees during the season to mitigate the effect of climate change in the state.
Varsity Seeks Endowment Fund For Research
The Tide’s source reports that the institution said on Friday that its focus would be on solving developmental challenges and the advancement of the society.
The university made this known at the 2nd Annual Public Lecture of the Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences in a lecture titled, “Utilising Untapped Research Funding Opportunities: An Imperative for Innovative Research in the University System”, which was intended to enlighten stakeholders on the need for financial support for the institution.
The Dean, Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences, Prof. Francis Sikoki, in his address of welcome, said the university’s catchment was bedevilled by many challenges, which could be addressed through research.
He listed such challenges to include flood and erosion, the menace of waterborne diseases, resource depletion occasioned by pollution and environmental degradation.
“Unfortunately, despite the large pool of experts in various disciplines in the university system, the paucity of funds to carry out problem-solving researches has been a major constraint.
“Fortunately, there is a large number of research funding sources which are not being adequately explored.
“One of such areas is the establishment of an endowment fund dedicated to research funding. This is precisely the reason for this public lecture being held today, first to create awareness and secondly to mobilise resources for research”, Sikoki said.
The guest lecturer, who s the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Dr Godknows Igali, stressed the need for universities to seek alternative funding.
He said public sector funding of the country’s university system was on the decline.
He suggested that apart from endowments, research funding could also be sourced from alumni bodies, partnership with industry, accessing development funding, university linkages, through putting-on the entrepreneurial cap and adoption of blending approach to funding research, among other sundry sources.
Igali, while advising the university’s management to be innovative, said: “The question ahead of us is where does the University of Africa want to belong?
“My submission would be we should be on the right side of history, of being a national problem solver and a much sought after institution around the world.
“It is our disposition towards today that would determine where the University of Africa will be in terms of its relevance in the global education market. But then as the saying goes, it is impossible to make an omelette without breaking eggs, “ he said.
Igali said this would require innovation and creativity from the university’s management.
“For this, as stated earlier, the university must be able to recruit and have the right calibre of staff who can handle this highly specialised duties of raising funds from multiple sources.
“This is because it would be difficult for a researcher to be the one who has the responsibility of carrying out investigation and studies and at the same time be saddled with the hunt for resources,” he said.
In his remarks, Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, called on federal agencies such as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to support the State in the funding of research projects by its tertiary institutions.
The Governor, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, also implored the state-owned tertiary institutions to redouble their efforts to tap research funds lying idle at the NCDMB and other public-spirited corporate bodies.
He emphasised the importance of research in tertiary education and the overall development of society, noting that what makes an educational institution to stand out is the quality of its research works.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of UAT, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene, said the public lecture was a clarion call on all stakeholders, especially government, to invest more resources in research and development to meet the manpower needs of the university system and society at large.
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