Reps step down consideration of PIB report
The House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to step down the report of the joint Senate and House Harmonisation Committee on PIB sequel to the protest staged by some aggrieved members.
The resolution was passed during the Executive session held by the House, to resolve the grey arrears bothering on the retainership of the 3% Host Community Fund and additional funding mechanism of 30% of profit oil and profit gas from production sharing contracts (PSCs) in addition to the 10 per cent of the rent from petroleum prospecting licences and petroleum mining leases to strengthen the country’s financial capacity to explore the frontier basins, in the report scheduled to be passed by both Chambers.
However, when the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila called on the Chairman of the Harmonisation Committee, Hon. Mohammed Mongunu to lay the report, the lawmaker sought the permission of the House to step down the laying of the report.
While venting the earlier position of the House, Hon. Francis Agbo (PDP-Benue) disclosed that members of the House of Representatives irrespective of the political affiliation unanimously agreed on the 5 per cent for Host Community, in order to ensure peace in the country and
He said, “The 5 per cent is acceptable to us because we don’t want to go back to Egypt; we don’t want to go back to when oil pipelines and installations were blown up. The militants, the agitators are threatening to blow up the pipelines.
“We in the House of Reps as parliamentarians, we believe very clearly that what the Host Communities need is the 5%. So we are appealing to our colleagues in the Senate to agree with us. As I said, we in the Reps irrespective of political party we all agreed to 5% for the host community and I think that is not too much.
“We are appealing to the Senate, we are appealing to Mr President that when the PIB finally gets to him, he should do a great service to Nigeria by asserting his signature because this is not an individual matter, it is not a personal matter; it is not a political matter. The people of the Niger Delta, the oil-producing States deserve this.
“Of course tomorrow, I’m from Benue, Benue could be an oil-producing state, Bauchi could be an oil-producing state, Maiduguri could be, all the States in Nigeria could be; once you become the oil-producing state you tap into the 5%, so we are trying to do what will give us peace in this country.
“We don’t want to go back to those days when oil installations were burned off, so I appeal to Mr President, I appeal to the Senate, I appeal to the stakeholders that they should key into what the House of Reps has done.”
While responding to the position of the Special Ad-hoc Committee on PIB, Hon. Mohammed Monguno that the House does not want to stifle the oil companies, the Benue lawmaker said: “No, no, no, no. It has to be a two-way thing. It takes two to tango. They are talking about the IOCs or whatever, what about the communities where people have died as a result of oil exploration, where people are suffering as a result of deprivation as a result of oil exploration?
“If you go to the Niger Delta today if you go to Oloibiri for example, it’s just a metaphor of a neglected host community and as I speak to you, if you go to the terminals, it’s an irony; the terminals where monies, billions upon billion, upon trillions are generated from, they are inaccessible.
“If you go to Bonny, Bonny is inaccessible, you go to Brass, it’s inaccessible, you go to Focardo, it’s inaccessible; what have we been doing in this country? How do these oil communities, oil terminals where billions of naira are generated and have been holding this country as the only mainstay for this country? So, how do you have such communities without being accessible to motorists?
“The point I’m making is that the oil-producing states, the Niger Delta region don’t want to hear that argument, you know that oil has been the mainstay of this country for as long as you can remember. Since independence till now our major mainstay is oil and then, we don’t want anything that will make these people go back to the creeks again, because that will worsen our economic problems.
“We are already having a lot of problems in this country. We have banditry, insecurity here and there. We are practically in recession, so why do things that will make these people still go back, they are threatening and that is my fear.
“So it is better we concede, let’s put the oil-producing communities first before any other thing; we in the Minority that is what we are saying. And then there is also money approved for prospecting oil and then you know the Niger Delta people, and the stakeholders are complaining that they don’t want the 30% so let’s give them the 5 per cent. For me, it is not too much for them,” Hon. Francis urged.
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