By Ebi Perekeme
The Delta State Government has presented its position on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the National Assembly where it sought for legislation that will give more participation to host communities in the nation’s oil and gas industry.
State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emman Amgbaduba, made the presentation at the ongoing public hearing on PIB before the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Downstream on Monday in Abuja.
The government position was contained in a 30-page document which the commissioner presented on behalf of the government.
Amgbaduba told the committee to ensure there are legislations that encourage host communities’ participation in the industry in the interest of peace and justice.
He said the current smooth and peaceful operations by oil multinationals in the state is due to the peaceful disposition of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who constantly engage host communities in meaningful dialogue.
According to him, Delta State Government supports the position of placing oil host communities in charge of protection of pipelines and other facilities domiciled in their communities and be allowed the privilege of having such contracts.
He remarked that it was unreasonable to bring in outsiders as contractors to protect pipelines that are in the host communities when the people have capacity to provide such protection.
He averred in a 30-page document emphasised on the need for host communities to be carried along in the PIB for a peaceful oil production process.
Amgbaduba said the state recognises the need for a conducive atmosphere for both host communities and International Oil Companies operating in the state to get along and open opportunities for employment, increase in production of oil and implementation of corporate social responsibilities to host communities.
“As a major oil and gas stakeholder in the Niger Delta, we have firsthand experience as to what is required to ensure a smooth co-existence between the host communities and oil companies.
“We also emphasized that the host communities should be allowed to provide the executive of the various boards
“We also frown at the practice where pipeline security and protection were given to outsiders whereas the various host communities have capacity to secure the pipelines. It is therefore unreasonable to bring in outsiders to secure pipelines and other facilities when the host communities have the capacity to provide such services locally.
“We also asked for the issues of tenants, percentage and dispute resolutions as it concerns the oil and gas sector.
“We have asked the National Assembly to incorporate these suggestions and many more into the PIB Bill and we believe that presentation made by the Delta State Government in the 30-page document if implemented carefully will create the needed conducive atmosphere for free and fair operations of the oil and gas sector,” he stated.
Responding, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) Senator Sabo Mohammed Nakudu, commended Delta for its presentation and recommendations.
He assured that the Committee will take into consideration the recommendations made by Delta State in the final passage of the bill.