Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has described the Petroleum Industrial Bill, PIB, as a total fraud.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA demanded to know how oil-producing states would get only 3% of their mineral deposits while states like Zamfara enjoy almost 90% of the gold they produce.
Describing the law as an injustice, HURIWA called on oil-producing areas to stand up and speak in one voice to stop the bill from being signed into law.
The organisation also pointed out that most oil wells in the Niger Delta are controlled and dominated by people from parts of the country where there is nothing like oil.
“PIB is a fraud. Total fraud. How would you argue on 3 per cent? What is 3 percent? When Zamfara State enjoys 100 percent of their gold?” HURIWA asked?
“Have we ever benefited from the gold deposit they have in Zamfara State? The bandits who are all over the places in Zamfara are even enjoying almost 90 percent of the mineral deposit they have there.
“So the PIB proposal is not acceptable and I hope those oil-producing areas should stand up and speak as one so that the bill is not signed into law.
“It should become a law in Nigeria because it is an injustice that they want to institutionalise. People have mineral deposits and you are giving them 3 percent? What is 3 percent?
“Who takes the remaining 97 percent? And when you look at the ownership pattern of most of these oil wells, those who control them and dominate in the business are people from areas where you do not have anything that looks like oil. We should correct this injustice once and for all. It’s completely unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, had early on Tuesday, constituted a 6-man conference Committee to deal with differences in the passage of the PIB.
This is following the difference in the bill between the Senate and House of Representatives.
Some members of the Senate had insisted on 3% remittance to the host communities against the recommended 5% as contained in the report which was upheld by the Chamber last Thursday.
But, Governors under the umbrella of the Southern Governors’ Forum, on Monday rejected the PIB passed by the National Assembly.
Also rejecting the 3%, elder statesman and the National leader of the South-South region, Chief Edwin Kiagbo Clark had recently written to the National Assembly, insisting that 10% equity participation be paid into the Host Communities Trust Fund for the development of the Niger Delta region.
Clark’s letter was at the backdrop of the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 3% equity participation into law by the Senate on Thursday last week in controversial circumstances.