From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Environmental Rights Action Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/ FoEN), yesterday, rejected the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as passed by the National Assembly and called on both chambers to immediately harmonise and produce environmentally friendly and peoples bill.
ERA/ FoEN Executive Director, Godwin Uyi Ojo, yesterday, expressed his resentment in a statement in Benin.
The PIB is a law that seeks to introduce far-reaching reforms in the Nigerian oil and gas industry which the previous administrations failed to pass into law due to lack of political will, variegated interests from different stakeholders as well as sectional interests.
He said the National Assembly failed to do justice to the bill which has been pending since 2008.
“I wondered why members of the National Assembly would approve a paltry three percent for the host communities. It’s way below bar, and constitutes an affront to the suffering rural communities.
“Besides, ERA/FoEN wants the government to immediately divest the 30 percent allocation to frontier oil exploration and invest it in renewable energy development such as solar to provide improved energy access to the citizens, given the deplorable state of the national grid.
Ojo said the three percent allocation for host communities is insufficient due to the ecological dislocation of the region which has culminated in appalling level of pollution of their agricultural land, fisheries and drinking water, thus exposing thousands of people to serious health risks.