By Emma Amaize
THE Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, CHURAC, has said the paltry sum of 2.5 per cent equity voted for oil-producing communities in the revised Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, was not only an insult to the oil communities but a threat to peace in Niger Delta.
The group in a statement by the national president, Cleric Alaowei Esq. asserted: “When late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua granted presidential amnesty to the former Niger Delta freedom fighters, 10 per cent equity share from the production sharing quota was voted for the host communities in line with the demands of the then militant groups.”
” The PIB was introduced by that government which had hitherto incorporated the said host communities funds. The bill was not passed into law before the tenure of that government ended.
“The 7th National Assembly reintroduced the bill of which the 10 per cent host communities share was retained. Again, that Assembly could not also pass it into law.
” However, the 8th National Assembly which reintroduced the bill slashed the host communities funds to 5 per cent. There were fewer agitations because the oil-producing communities wanted the bill codified.
“To our utter consternation, President Buhari refused to sign the bill into law when it was passed during the lifetime of his first term. Maybe the government has a sinister agenda to kill the bill or to outrightly remove the host communities share in the production sharing quota.
“We are again surprised that the revised executive bill sent to the National Assembly by Buhari has reduced the host communities funds to 2.5 per cent. This is totally unacceptable to the oil-producing communities. These people suffered the environmental damage occasioned by the unlawful flaring of anthropogenic gas which has caused climate change in the Niger Delta region.
“Oil spillages alone have completely destroyed our biodiversity. Only the yet to be identified chemical an oil company poured on the coastal region of Delta State has killed all the species of fishes in Ijaw land from Edo to the Rivers States. The effect has not stopped yet.
” The 10 per cent host communities funds in the proposed PIB is the only survival means to rescue these pauperized communities from the economic strangulation. Anything short of the earlier proposed 10 per cent equity share is unacceptable to the Niger Delta people.
“The Minister of Petroleum for State, Chief Timipre Sylva who is also a victim of this economic onslaught should not because of crumbs join our predators to dig mass graves for the people of Niger Delta. PIB is our destiny,” CHURAC said.