One of the attempts to assuage the grievances of Oil Producing Areas was the 10% of total cost of extractions accruable to host communities and the opportunities to enhance LOCAL CONTENT (Nigerian Content) PARTICIPATION included in the original bill submitted by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The Tambuwal-led National Assembly foot-dragged or dallied over the bill simply because some sections of the country were not happy that oil-bearing and oil-producing communities would benefit directly from the proceeds of oil exploration activities in their mostly environmentally degraded domains. But the Senate led by David Mark vowed to go on with the original bill which also met stiff opposition from northern geopolitical zones legislators which had more population in the NASS, until the 2015 elections gave power to the North-dominated APC government both at the executive and legislative levels.
No sooner had APC been sworn in to continue deliberating on the peace and development of Nigerians, than the new APC governance crew jettisoned the original bill submitted by Jonathan’s government to empower ALL Nigerians and placate oil producing communities; and introduced a brand new bill which excluded the most important aspects for the Nigerian people and the oil producing communities – LOCAL CONTENT and HOST COMMUNITIES FUND.
Vanguard News reported on April 4, 2016 thus:
A new version of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which removes the strategic Host Community Development Fund as proposed in the botched PIB is set to commence legislative deliberations in the next few days. The proposed industry wide regulatory framework titled Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB was prepared by the two chambers of the National Assembly.
The removal of the Host Community Development Fund as envisaged in the original PIB is, however, set to reawaken ethnic and geopolitical fractures in the country given the immense support for the proposal in the country’s oil producing regions in the Niger Delta. The Senate and the House of Representatives also, in their proposals in the new PIB, scrapped the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation,NNPC, and replaced it with a body to be known as the National Petroleum Company, NPC.
The two chambers may have also bowed to pressure from the International Oil Companies, IOCs, by scrapping the aspect of the bill that emphasizes local content, as the new bill is silent on the issue.
This is unlike the previous PIB in the 7th Assembly (JONATHAN’S TENURE) which placed so much emphasis on local content. Under the new bill, the National Petroleum Company is exempted from certain laws of the country, including exemption from provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the Public Procurement Act 2007. In the new bill, re-christened “Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB”, due for laying in both chambers of the National Assembly, upon resumption of lawmakers from the Easter break, the legislature equally proposed the scrapping of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its subsequent replacement with the Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated, MOPI. The new bill is an Act to provide governance and institutional framework for the petroleum industry and other related matters.
The 53-page bill, exclusively obtained by Vanguard, also seeks the scrapping of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA and the Petroleum Inspectorate. The three agencies, according to the new bill, are to be replaced with Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NPRC.
The new PIGB has now been passed and gullible Nigerians who are too busy attending to their basic needs to study the facts, are jubilating over nothing to improve their own lives but improve the lives of OWNERS OF OIL BLOCKS and the International Oil Companies.
Another abandoned promise was the OGONI CLEAN UP exercise which process was commenced actually by the Jonathan government but somehow plagued by ‘political infighting’by stakeholders in Rivers State some of which put their cronies forward as companies to be considered for the proposed 30-year exercise.
Shell, the main actor in the OGONI ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION matter had been ”settled” by the UNEP REPORT and were supposed to be assisted by the FG in the area of counterpart funding. Shell then kept some money in an escrow account awaiting Nigeria’s counterpart funding which the GEJ government acceded to until the Buhari government came in. Alas, the counterpart funding from the Nigerian end was NON-EXISTENT in the 2016 budget after.
PREMIUM TIMES reported thus:
THE UNEP REPORT
After several years of bloody agitation against multinational oil companies, particularly Shell, over pollution of Ogoniland, the Nigerian government in 2011 invited UNEP to do an assessment of oil pollution in the area and surrounding towns.
The study found high concentration of hydrocarbon and benzene, two carcinogens, in high concentration in outdoor air and drinking water in Ogoniland.
Some contaminated wells in places like Ogale, Eleme Local Government Area, were found to be contaminated by Benzene at over 900 times above the World Health Organisation guideline. Water samples taken from at least seven wells near the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipelines in the town were found to contain Hydrocarbon at least 1000 times above the Nigerian drinking water standard of three micrograms per litre.
The UNEP team examined over 122 kilometres of pipeline, 220 locations and over 5,000 medical records. What it found was shocking. The report stated that in many of the locations, there was contamination of ground water that constituted serious threat to human health and the viability and productivity of the eco-system.
The report stated that the contamination of Ogoniland was so severe that the process of cleaning up the pollution will take up to 30 years. It recommended an initial capital injection of $1 billion to be paid by the Nigerian government and all oil companies to fund the clean-up.
In line with UNEP recommendations, the administration of immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, established the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project, HYPREP.
“With the establishment of this project, it is expected that all stakeholders, especially the impacted communities, will cooperate fully with government and grant unfettered access to all impacted sites to ensure complete success,” the petroleum minister at the time, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said.
But after the announcement was made, the project soon fell off the radar as the administration showed no further interest in the report.
HERE COMES BUHARI
Things remained stagnant until August 2015 when the Muhammadu Buhari administration approved actions to fast-track the implementation of the report. Mr. Buhari also announced the donation of $10 million to a newly constituted Board of Trustees of HYPREP for the work on the clean-up to commence.
FILE PHOTO: FROM LEFT: Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed; Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, at the Launch of the Clean-Up of Ogoniland And Other Oil-Spill Affected Communities In The Niger Delta at Bodo Town, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers on Thursday (2/6/16)
On June 2, 2016, in an event that rekindled hope across Ogoniland, President Buhari, represented by his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, was at Bodo to flag-off the clean-up.
“The methodology for the clean-up will ensure job creation for young people. The agro-allied industries required for processing of agricultural produce will also be put in place,” the president said.
But 10 months after the flag-off, not a single drop of oil has been cleaned from Ogoniland.
The insinuation from many quarters was that the ”Ogoni Clean-up” hurried launch was politically motivated to garner votes for the APC in the incessantly conducted RIVERS RERUN ELECTIONS.
In fact, Jonathan was insulted while Buhari was hailed by an Ogoni Monarch who was obviously either misinformed or uninformed about the ”bottlenecks” created by oppositions to GEJ, in a political rally seeking for votes!
”…Chairman of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King. Godwin Gininwa, have said that the former president of Nigeria, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan made a great mistake for failing to implement the United Nations Environmental Programme report on Ogoniland. Amaechi and Gininwa made this statement on Thursday in Bodo City, Gokana Local Government Area of the state during the official flag-off of the cleanup of the area by President Muhammadu Buhari, in their separate speeches.
In his speech, Amaechi noted that he (Amaechi) did everything possible to ensure that Jonathan implements the UNEP report on Ogoniland, but regretted that his efforts yielded no fruit. The transport minister said that the former president refused to carry out the project that would have benefitted the people of the state, adding that Jonathan was never a brother to the state. He added that the cleanup would bring a positive change to the economic life of the people of the area, stressing that the president had kept to his promise. “…we did everything possible to make our brother the former president to implement the report, but, he refused. “But with President Muhammadu Buhari, we are here today in keeping with our campaign promise. “The economy of Ogoni people will change through this cleanup.
Today, the same people are mute one year after. NOTHING ON GROUND. NOT A KOBO INCLUDED IN ANY BUDGET PRESENTED BY APC AND BUHARI FOR COUNTERPART FUNDING IN 2 BUDGETS SINCE HE WAS SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT.
Enter the Modular Refinery matter…
During the attempt to placate the Niger Delta region in the wake of bombings claimed by Niger Delta Avengers, an idea was muted by the APC-led FG to establish MODULAR refineries. This idea was actually Jonathan’s Idea but since we are not in a military dictatorship where things are done without any parliamentary input, it was partially required by the NASS to approve.
Some Niger Deltans sang Buhari’s praises to the high heavens and decamped to the APC while insulting Jonathan. Many are used to military rule and are oblivious of democratic governance anyway.
VANGUARD NEWS reported thus:
FG backpedals, to restrict modular refineries’ construction
Federal Government, yesterday, backpedalled on its modular refineries initiative, declaring that it would no longer allow the proliferation of such refineries across the Niger Delta.
The Federal Government had a few weeks ago, stated that it would encourage the setting up of modular crude oil refineries in oil-producing communities across the Niger Delta, while also planning to legalise illegal crude oil refiners and inculcate them into the modular refineries initiative.
Speaking in Abuja, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed that having small modular refineries scattered across the length and breadth of the Niger Delta would heighten environmental degradation, worsen gas flare and increase the problems of the region. Kachikwu was speaking at the presentation of the report of the New Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector Governance Policy Consultation Workshop held in Aberdeen, Scotland, by Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, Europe, United Kingdom and North Aberdeen.
He was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Fiscals, Mr. Timothy Okon. Kachikwu disclosed that government was considering a situation where modular refineries would be located only in areas where its products would be easily evacuated and where getting feedstock to them would not be cumbersome. … Setting up smaller modular refineries in so many places in the Niger Delta would worsen gas flares in the region and also bring about environmental challenges.
“It is critical to develop an integrated approach and plan to modular refineries construction in the Niger Delta, ensure that they are properly optimized and are not scattered everywhere. If the refineries are scattered everywhere they would not provide significant economic benefits to the country.”
Only God Almighty knows how long the INTEGRATED APPROACH AND PLAN will be developed and actualized because even sincere APC/Buhari supporters are already too inundated with world record lies and cancelled campaign promises to believe them…
PLEASE NOTE: I SPOKE WITH PROOF
Henry Omoregie is a Public Affairs Analyst