Former president of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Barrister Ledum Mitee, has advocated for merger of community provisions of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the Solid Minerals Act 2006 into Extractive Resources Community Development Bill.
He said the proposed Bill, if passed into law by the National Assembly, would align and holistically address the environmental, developmental and ownership concerns of host communities in a non-discriminatory manner.
Mitee spoke yesterday, at a one-way summit organised by the Coalition of Rivers Oil and Gas Host Communities (CROGHC) in Port Harcourt, with theme: “Creating A Practical Template Towards Managing Challenges In The Oil and Gas Host Communities.”
The former MOSOP president, who called for outright rejection of the PIB, urged host communities in the Niger Delta to mobilise the people to support the proposed merger.
He stated that a comparison of the PIB and the Solid Minerals Act shows that the legislation for solid minerals provides better protection for communities in extraction sites, while the PIB denies communities the right to property and freedom of participation.
Mitee said, “A comparison of the current PIB with the Minerals and Mining Act 2007 (Solid Minerals Act), which governs the solid minerals sector shows that the legislation for solid minerals provides better protection for communities in extraction sites.
“The PIB 2020 denies communities the right to property and the freedom to participate in deciding how people should gain access to their land for petroleum and gas production and to determine compensation amounts for damage done to communal and personal property and livelihoods.
“It is therefore, my view that we must reject this Bill (PIB) whose cure is worse than our ailment. Instead, since what is good for the goose is good for the gander, we should rather mobilise our people to support a merger of the community provisions of both the PUB with those of the Solid Minerals Act into a single Extractive Resources Community Development Bill.
“The proposed Bill will align and holistically address the environmental, developmental and ownership concerns of host communities in a non-discriminatory manner. The fate of a state or community should not vary according to the nature of mineral resources extracted from its land- whether solid minerals or oil and gas.
Earlier in his welcome address, CROGHC chairman, Barituka Loanyie, said the group was committed to standing for the economic, environmental and political rights of all the oil producing communities in Rivers State through peaceful and non-violent means.
Loanyie said, “We are committed to standing for the economic, environmental and political rights of all the Oil Producing Communities in Rivers State through peaceful and non-violent means.