Says its passage and implementation will address Niger Delta age long economic woes
By Binebai Princewill
Reigning Secretary General of the revered Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Rt. Hon. Frank Pukon has called on the National Assembly and other relevant stakeholders in Nigeria to act swiftly in order to enact the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Hon. Pukon noted that the passage and subsequent implementation of the Bill will address the age long social and economic woes that had bedevilled the Niger Delta region for too long.
The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide secretary made the call recently in Yenagoa during a media chat with journalists, in which a copy of the speech was made available to The Liberator Newspaper.
Pukon bemoan the fact that PIB has lingered and suffered legislative scrutiny for too long, stressing that this is 12 years after it began its legislative journey on the floor of the National Assembly in 2008, adding that till date, it is yet to see the light of the day.
He reiterated that the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide will not seat idle to watch such an important Bill that will address the plights of Niger Deltans with regards to the Oil Industry being swept under the carpet.
He particularly appealed to all lawmakers from the Niger Delta region to muster supports in the National Assembly to urgently implement the Bill.
In his words: “One of the areas, the Buhari presidency can restore permanent peace in the Niger Delta region is to address environmental degradation, in the Niger Delta to enhance social and economic prosperity.
“The Petroleum Industry Bill, nonetheless, is another pertinent legislative piece that will address the region’s social and economic adversities and proffer lasting peace to the region.
“Put simply, it is about genuine policy formulation, that will harmonize Niger Deltans and facilitate the region’s economic growth.
“That is why in different forums, I have advocated for the Petroleum Industry Bill to be enacted because it will no doubt address many of the economic woes bedeviling the Niger Delta.
“It was 2008, (12 years ago) the Petroleum Industry Bill began its journey under the regime of President Umaru Yar’Adua.
“This bill, which seeks to establish a legal and regulatory framework for institutions, authorities, stakeholders, and host communities by establishing guidelines for national development.
“However, the debate on the PIB is long overstretched and should have been concluded by now, the continuing non- passage of the bill has seen Nigeria incurred
losses from regulatory uncertainty in the oil and gas sector where host communities have become marginalized and are not given the fair share.
“So, I want to use this medium to once again call on the 9th National Assembly to pass the PIB, which will reposition the industry and engage host communities in the Niger Delta.
“It is a sacred obligation for lawmakers to implement laws that will benefit the social and economic prosperity of its citizens.
“This is the global practice for all parliaments worldwide and Nigeria apparently is not excluded.”