Host community bill should come before PIGB – Dr. Ellah

As the reaction continues to trail the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, by the National Assembly, a former Group General Manager, Upstream Investment Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Joseph Ellah, has joined in opposing the bill.

Dr. Ellah argued that priority should be given to the Petroleum Host Community Bill before any other aspect of the Petroleum Industry, PIB is passed.

Speaking at an event organised by the Claude Ake School of Government, an affiliate of the University of Port Harcourt, Ellah, urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign into law the PIGB, arguing that the bill will impoverished Nigerians and enrich few people.

In his paper presentation titled: ‘Implication of the new Petroleum Industry Governance Bill for Nigeria, Niger Delta, and the Common Man”, he urged stakeholders in the oil producing communities to move against presidential assent on the bill, describing the PIGB as a legal document aimed at enslaving the nation.

The ex-NNPC boss explained that after a thorough study of the PIGB, he found out that the document was not aimed at developing the country, adding that oil producing communities were not given priority attention.

According to him, “This PIGB is just a way they want to legally sell off all our assets as a nation.

“The provisions of the sections marked as AA, BB, DD TT and others in the bill all point to the real intention of the entire Bill, privatisation of the oil and gas resources to one or two private investors or so-called strategic investors.

“The legislative process which was supervised by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources did not include local communities and state governments when the laws that will govern them was formulated. It does not give much attention to the oil producing communities.

“I am calling on President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign that bill. The bill will enslave Niger Delta people. It will make the Nigerian President worthless. It will impoverished Nigerians and enrich few people.”

“I don’t think any President in the world would like to sign this kind of bill, why would we want to sell off all our asset,” Dr. Joseph Ellah said.