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Environmental experts urge Buhari to fast track PIGB signing

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Samuel Bello, Abuja

Some cross section of environmental experts and professionals in the upstream and downstream sector, on Thursday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly assent to the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB).

The Senate had, after a clause-by-clause consideration in May 2017, passed the PIGB, while the House of Representatives also passed the Bill in January 2018.

The Petroleum Bill seeks to introduce reforms that would engender transparency, while at the same time making the oil and gas sector more business-oriented and profit-driven.

During a round-table meeting organised by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), stakeholders, who addressed newsmen, noted that it was very paramount the bill was signed as quick as possible.

Kabari Sam, Head Environment and Conservation of Centre for Environment Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), who spoke on their behalf, reiterated that Civil Society Organisations and Nigerians are worried and scared because the bills that have been passed may not see light of the day at Presidency.

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“We need three bills to ensure environmental management which are the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, NOSDRA amendment bill and Petroleum Goals and Imported Committees Bill.

Kabari also urged the National Assembly to pass the remaining bills and pass it to the president for assent, adding that the stakeholders will not relent in pressuring the National Assembly to that effect.

He said, “There is need to synergise and ensure we put pressure on National Assembly that the three bill are passed and assented before the end of this current dispensation.

“The NOSDRA amendment bill is at the technical committee stage after the public hearing where they are considering the different input. Petroleum Host and Impacted Community Bill, we have just done the public hearing and it will be shifting to the technical committee.

“The one paramount to us is the PIGB, given the benefit of the bill to the Nigerian state given that the Nigerian economy is majorly dependent on oil, it is very important for the president to assent to it with all his political will because if he doesn’t, I don’t know what his presidency would be remembered for.”

Reacting to the stakeholders’ plea, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters in charge of Niger Delta region, Edobor Iyamu, assured Nigerians that the bill will definitely be assented to by the President but he could not relate the time it will be signed.

Edobor noted the president wants sanity to be the watchword of companies interacting with host communities in Niger Delta region.

According to him, “There is legislature that makes the law and regarding this bill, which the executive is particularly interested in because we want there to be sanity in the activities of all companies vis-à-vis the host communities especially what is now known as the impacted communities.

“With respect to the bill coming to the executive, I am sure by the time the bill comes in, the required assent would be given, so there is no question at all, we are here to cooperate with the legislature and the executive is here to do the needful,” he said.

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