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Oil communities seek reinstatement of Oil Community Development Fund in new PIB

By News Express on 04/05/2016

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Residents of Ikarama and Okordia communities in Bayelsa on Tuesday called for reintroduction of Host Community Fund in the new version Petroleum Industry Governance Bill before its passage into law.

The residents made the call at an Environmental Parliament held in Ikarama to intimate residents with the provisions of the Bill which is currently before the National Assembly.

Over 80 participants drawn from representatives of oil bearing communities, youth and women groups advocated the inclusion of the Host Communities Fund in the Bill.

A new version of the PIB which removed the Host Community Development Fund as proposed in the earlier version has been re-presented for deliberation at the National Assembly.

At the Environmental Parliament organised by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) the participants were unanimous in calling for the reinstatement of the Host Community Development Fund.

Mr Moses Seleowei expressed delight at the interest of ERA/FoEN in advocating for the rights of the rural oil communities and enabling them make inputs to the legislative process.

Also Chief Raphael Warder regretted that host communities who hav faced the adverse effects of oil exploration for decades were left out in the new legislation and called for a more holistic approach.

Chief Ediwini Lambert, a traditional ruler noted that the leadership of the region had not effectively managed the derivations and other resources that accrued to the region.

Mr Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN said the session became necessary in view of the review of the Petroleum Industry Bill, renamed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.

Morris said that ERA/FoEN, an environment focused rights advocacy group was keen on getting feedback from host communities and present such for effective advocacy on the new PIB.

Dr Tari Dadiowei who reviewed the current provisions in the Bill which is geared towards its unbundling, underscored the need to include environmental governance, community participation and security.

Dadiowei, an expert in Conflict Resolution examined the various components of the draft Bill, and pointed out that the bill in its present form does not guarantee community participation and protection of the environment.

According to him, the bill was silent on who will bear the ecological debt when the oil resources are exhausted, adding that the bill was skewed in favour of the International Oil Companies and their profit motive.

The participants resolved  the legislature should ensure that the 10 per cent Host Communities Fund which was recommended in the previous version is reintroduced before its passage into law.

The participants regretted that since 2008 when efforts were first made to introduce the Petroleum Industry Bill, eight years after, it has yet to see the light of the day.

Residents of Ikarama and Okordia communities in Bayelsa on Tuesday called for reintroduction of Host Community Fund in the new version Petroleum Industry Governance Bill before its passage into law.

The residents made the call at an Environmental Parliament held in Ikarama to intimate residents with the provisions of the Bill which is currently before the National Assembly.

Over 80 participants drawn from representatives of oil bearing communities, youth and women groups advocated the inclusion of the Host Communities Fund in the Bill.

A new version of the PIB which removed the Host Community Development Fund as proposed in the earlier version has been re-presented for deliberation at the National Assembly.

At the Environmental Parliament organized by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) the participants were unanimous in calling for the reinstatement of the Host Community Development Fund.

Mr Moses Seleowei expressed delight at the interest of ERA/FoEN in advocating for the rights of the rural oil communities and enabling them make inputs to the legislative process.

Also Chief Raphael Warder regretted that host communities who have faced the adverse effects of oil exploration for decades were left out in the new legislation and called for a more holistic approach.

Chief Ediwini Lambert, a traditional ruler noted that the leadership of the region had not effectively managed the derivations and other resources that accrued to the region.

Mr Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN said the session became necessary in view of the review of the Petroleum Industry Bill, renamed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.

Morris said that ERA/FoEN, an environment focused rights advocacy group was keen on getting feedback from host communities and present such for effective advocacy on the new PIB.

Dr Tari Dadiowei who reviewed the current provisions in the Bill which is geared towards its unbundling, underscored the need to include environmental governance, community participation and security.

Dadiowei, an expert in Conflict Resolution examined the various components of the draft Bill, and pointed out that the bill in its present form does not guarantee community participation and protection of the environment.

According to him, the bill was silent on who will bear the ecological debt when the oil resources are exhausted, adding that the bill was skewed in favour of the International Oil Companies and their profit motive.

The participants resolved  the legislature should ensure that the 10 per cent Host Communities Fund which was recommended in the previous version is reintroduced before its passage into law.

The participants regretted that since 2008 when efforts were first made to introduce the Petroleum Industry Bill, eight years after, it has yet to see the light of the day.

•Photo shows Senate President Saraki and Reps Speaker Dogara.

Source News Express

Posted 04/05/2016 04:41:41 AM

 

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