Following the fracas that erupted last week Thursday in Nigeria’s House of Representatives during a public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, the Federal, and State Governments of oil-producing states will now take charge of petroleum ownership and control on behalf of the Niger Delta region.

This was part of the resolutions reached and conveyed in a communiqué after a conciliatory meeting between Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and host communities in the oil-producing region.

In the communiqué which was jointly signed by Sen. Enang and representatives of the host communities, the government said the move was needed to address the seeming mistrust among the leadership of host communities which led to the fracas at the National Assembly.

It added that Section 115 of the PIB which deals with the regulation and operations of the midstream and downstream sector which takes away the “statutory participatory rights and sustainable development in accordance to the laws and policies precedence”, is not acceptable.

While advising against scrapping the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the parties also kicked against divesting oil and gas resources which took the country many years to configure.

“Sequel to the issues that ensued between the factions of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing (Oil and Gas) at the public hearing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in the National Assembly on the 28th of January 2021, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs Senator Ita Enang convened a meeting.

“The SSAP admonished both parties that as brothers they should set aside their differences and have a common position for the purpose the PIB which was agreed by both parties (HOSTCOM and HOSCON) and the following resolutions were arrived at:

“Property and ownership of petroleum within Nigeria and its territorial waters, continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone is and shall be vested in the Government of the Federation and the Governments of the Petroleum Producing States for and held in trust on behalf of the people.

“There is a need for stakeholders consultation is contained in the global and local regulation. The host communities also resolved on 10% equity shareholding as against 2.5% of production quantum

“Agreed that a Commission is established to known as Host Communities Oil Producing Area Development Commission (HC – OPADEC) which shall be replicated at the state and local government levels. The nomination of the appointees to the Board shall be from the Host Communities and not the other way round

“Agreed that any Oil company that fails to set up the Trust Fund within 6 months after the enaction of the act shall be sanctioned in accordance to the local content Act section 68,” part of the communiqué read.

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