– The ongoing debate surrounding the Petroleum Industry Bill is still very much a trending topic
– Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta state has shared his thoughts on the issue
– The governor is of the opinion that the oil sector in the country is losing valuable investments due to the absence of a legal framework that the bill provides
Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Monday, March 1 said Nigeria’s oil industry had lost substantial investments due to delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
A statement from the Delta state government sent to Legit.ng indicated that Okowa made the comment when he received a delegation from the National Assembly led by Mohammed Tahir Monguno.
Monguno is a Nigerian lawyer and chief whip of the Federal House of Representatives, representing Marte-Monguno-Nganzai Federal Constituency in Borno state and currently the co-chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on PIB.
He led his colleagues and members of the committee to Government House, Asaba, the Delta state capital to meet with Governor Okowa.
Addressing his visitors, Governor Okowa said that investments in the nation’s oil industry would be upscaled as soon as the PIB is passed.
According to him, the people of the Niger Delta were gladdened to hear of the renewed commitment of federal lawmakers towards the passing of the PIB.
The governor expressed delight with the inclusion of Host Communities Fund in the Bill, saying that the provision of the fund would make the people part-owners of the ventures and encourage them to secure oil facilities.
“We are gladdened as people from the Niger Delta to hear both leaderships of the National Assembly speak about their commitment towards passing the PIB.
“If you do achieve it, your name will be definitely written in gold because for too long we have been talking about this bill and we are already endangering the oil industry.”
Earlier, Monguno said the delegation was visiting Delta state in furtherance of the legislative processes leading to the passage of the PIB.
He said that the National Assembly was working closely with the Executive arm and other stakeholders to ensure the passage of the PIB.
Recall that about a month ago, a physical altercation was recorded in the National Assembly during a public hearing on the PIB.
Those involved in the fisticuffs were said to be members of the oil host communities who had come to make presentations on the bill.
Meanwhile, participants at an online workshop organised last year to review key issues that require urgent reforms in the oil and gas industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic have called for accelerated passage of the PIB.
The demand was made at a workshop organised by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) which drew participants from various civil society groups as well as the media.
Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.