From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The leadership of the Ijaw nation has rejected the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) just passed into law by the National Assembly describing it as disgusting and provocative.
The leaders also called on the Minister of State for Petroluem Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva to use this opportunity to write his name in gold, and on the side of prosperity by standing firm with the Ijaw people against their oppressors.
President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), the umbrella body of the Ijaw people, Prof Benjamin Okaba in a packed press conference, he addressed at the Ijaw House, headquarters of INC in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, declared that the Ijaw nation rejects in its entirety the 3% and 5% provisions as compensation, the redefinition of host communities and other provisions including the allocation of 30% of our oil resources to grope in the dark in the name of exploration for oil.
While accusing the Federal Government of double standards as regards Zamfara where the state government and individuals are allowed to mine gold, he said the Ijaw nation would no longer allow itself to be treated as a lesser partner.
“When we look back at the long passage of time, dealings between the Nigerian State and the Ijaw nation, periscopes deluge of insincerity and monumental deprivation. This is the sad reality and it is truly regrettable. But the Ijaw nation shall no longer accept being treated as a lesser partner in the Nigerian project. Nigeria is peaceful because the Niger Delta is peaceful. Even in a tightly knit family, differences and competing interests must be balanced
“The slashing of compensation for the host communities to a ridiculous percentage and increasing the percentage on searching for more petroleum reserves in the “frontier basin”, and redefining the meaning of host to include communities where oil pipelines pass through is disgusting and provocative. For the umpteenth time, if these injustices are not abated, we will do all that is peaceful and legal to seek our leave of this contraption called Nigeria”
Okaba implored federal lawmakers and top government officials to throw their weight behind the will and the wish of the people by “rejecting this slavish allotment and support us for a better deal which is a minimum of 10%”
He called on those bent on infringing on the rights of Ijaw people to blame themselves when crisis erupts, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari must rise to the occasion and douse tension by not signing the bill until National Assembly approves 10% as host communities trust fund.
“The perpetrators of these obnoxious policies and laws that infringe on our fundamental human and environmental rights should be equally be reminded of the dire consequences and find themselves to be blamed in the event of eventuality,” Okaba added.