PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said the controversial Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) he recently signed into law against the outcries by people of the Niger Delta region in Nigeria would bring lasting benefits to host communities.
The president stated this while delivering a remark on the passage of the Bill at the State House on Wednesday.
He appealed to the host communities to embrace the Act, stressing that would create a regulatory framework that would ensure accountability in the oil and gas sector.
“The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 creates a regulatory environment that would ensure efficiency and accountability across the oil and gas value chain and reposition NNPC to a commercially driven National Petroleum Company that is accountable to the Federation,” Buhari said.
“The Act also provides for a direct benefit framework that will enable the sustainable development of Host Communities.
“I appeal to the host communities to look carefully at the contents of the Bill which in the implementation will bring real and lasting benefits to them.”
There have been mixed reactions from stakeholders in the oil-producing Niger Delta region since the Act was hurriedly signed by President Buhari on Monday.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) accused the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of not showing regard for the people of the Niger Delta after signing the bill into law.
The group had argued alongside governors and socio-political leaders from the South that three per cent earmarked for host communities in the Act was inadequate to bear the devasting effect of oil exploration in the oil-producing communities.
PANDEF said that it was unfortunate that Buhari neglected the agitations of the region regarding the bill, preferring to rather give assent to the controversial bill.
Similarly, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike had also shared sentiments of PANDEF.
The governor during a programme on Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Tuesday noted that the three per cent allocated to the host communities was not enough, considering the enormous environmental damage caused by oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.
He also argued that President Buhari should have considered the plights of the Niger Delta people before signing the bill.