Anger over the passage and signing of the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) into law deepened yesterday as Ijaw youths from the six states of the Niger Delta region declared that President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister of state for petroleum resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, were no longer welcomed in the region.
They said despite the fact that the duo of Buhari and Sylva have the constitutional rights to move to any part of the country, their movement into the six states of the Niger Delta will no longer be celebrated because of their disregard to the plight of the people of the region.
The youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, had earlier on Tuesday rejected the signing of the controversial Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) into law by Buhari.
They said the signing of the PIB into law was a total negation of the outcry of the people of the Niger Delta against the three per cent provision for the oil-producing communities.
The national spokesman of IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, said the best course of action to have been taken by the president was to send the bill back to the National Assembly for upward review of the three per cent equity share to host communities whose environment had suffered decades of exploration activities by the oil companies.
On the explanation by Sylva on the three per cent, Ekerefe described it as an afterthought. He said what the minister should have done as an illustrious son of the soil was to apologise and appeal to the “consciences of our people, rather than justifying an act which is politically tailored to favour the North and its allies in the industry.”
Ekerefe said it is a rape on justice and equity for the National Assembly to pass three per cent equity share to the host communities and 30 per cent to frontier basins which in “our view is grossly inadequate and it is against the unanimous 10 per cent agreement by stakeholders for the host communities when the National Assembly visited the region.”
…Your Action Reckless, Ex-militants Tell IYC
A coalition of nine former militant groups under the aegis of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) has described the position of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) declaring minister of state for petroleum resources, Chief Timipre Sylva unwelcomed in the Niger Delta as “reckless and parochial.”
RNDA said instead of such threats and unfounded statements, President Buhari and Sylva should be commended for the passage of the PIB into law.
The RNDA, which is a coalition of former militant groups who embraced the peace accord with the federal government, described the decision of the present administration to ensure the passage of the PIB and the signing it into law as “courageous, passionate and a show of love for the people of the Niger Delta region who have suffered over six decades within six years in office to change the narrative of their harrowing anguish and pain.”
According to the RNDA, “Indeed, we the people are immensely grateful to the president to boldly and committedly actualise this long and protracted bill running over 16 years, and today it is passed and signed into law, and this is a new dawn in our history as a people in the Niger Delta region. Our hope is rekindled by this iconic benevolence demonstrated by Buhari to take away the reproach of neglect borne out of sheer wickedness by our own leaders who were governors, National Assembly members, ministers of petroleum resources, ministers of Niger Delta Affairs, vice president, acting president and even president.
“President Buhari is our hero and father. We will and our generations unborn will remain grateful to him for this historic and memorable signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into Law. We really appreciate his sincere love for our region as seen in his influence on the National Assembly to ensure the holistic and robust debate and also inclusion of all stakeholders in the process of passing the PIB into law for true benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region who suffer consequences of inhuman pattern of exploration and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas that have thrown the region into a dead trap because of pollution carried out by these multinational oil companies”.