PIB: NORTH CONTROLS 83% OF OIL BLOCKS - Southern senators

Nigerian Tribune Newspaper

THE ongoing debate at the Senate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) assumed a more ethnic dimension on Tuesday as senators from the South-South zone alleged that the North had been the greatest beneficiary of the nation's oil sector.
Many of the northern senators had, on Tuesday, kicked against the Bill, particularly Clauses 116-118 which made provision for 10 percent Host Community Fund.
They had also claimed that over N11 trillion derivation and other funds released since 1999 were mismanaged and unaccounted for by different governments from the oil- producing states.
However, Senator Ita Enang from Akwa Ibom North-West picked holes in the claim by the northern senators as he alleged that northerners owned 83 per cent of the nation's oil blocs, marginal fields and oil prospecting licences.
According to Enang, Cavendish Petroleum, operators of the OML 110 belongs to the late Alhaji Mai Deribe of Borno State, Seplat/Platform Petroleum, operators of the ASUOKPU/UMUTU Marginal Field, had Mallam (Prince)) Sanusi Lamido as a major shareholder and director; South Atlantic petroleum Limited (SAPETRO) was established by General T.Y. Danjuma who is also the chairman of Eni Nigeria Limited; AMNI International Petroleum and Development, owned by Colonel Sani Bello (rtd), were operating OML 112 and OML 117.
A former petroleum minister, Alhaji Rilwan Lukman, managed AMNI oil blocs and with key interests in the NNPC/Vitol trading deal; Oriental Energy Resources Limited, owned by Alhaji Indimi, was running three oil blocs namely, OML 115, the Oldwork field and the Ebok field; Alhaji Aminu Dantata's Express Petroleum and Gas Limited were the operators of OML 108 among others.
He said the present oil blocs owned by these individuals should be looked into, revoked and re-awarded to reflect the principle of federal character.
"The federal character, which is a principle applicable in every aspect of our national existence should also be brought to bear in the application of our oil blocs, marginal fields and prospecting licences," he said.
Senator Chris Anyanwu, who described Nigeria as a big player in world's oil production, said PIB was important, not only to the country, but the entire world.
"The element I like most in the bill is the host community fund because it removes the motive for crime. It gives them a sense of belonging and ownership," she said.
George Sekibo said the new PIB would take care of communities that had been devastated by oil exploration, noting that virtually every community in the country would benefit from the 10 per cent host communities fund.
Senator Ayogu Eze while contributing called on his colleagues to study the bill critically, saying, "When prosperity spreads across all parts of the country, all this bickering and suspicion would disappear."
For Senator James Manager, there was no doubt that globally, the oil-producing parts of any country cannot be on the same page of development with those not producing oil.
He said it was also necessary to seek areas across the country where oil can be explored in commercial quantity to reduce the bickering over incentives to oil producing regions.
Senator Adegbenga Kaka, who supported the PIB, said, "We appeared to have been failing the nation by not utilising the money judiciously."
Senator Danjuma Goje from Gombe Central shocked his colleagues as he said, "I was one of the people completely opposed to the bill but from the trend of the debate, it looked like the Senate is ready to do a thorough job without fear or favour. For this reason, I will join others in asking that this bill be considered while the contentious positions are addressed."
Senator Barnabas Gemade said the discovery of oil had aided the growth of corruption in the country, adding, "and if we play lip service in the development of oil fields, we would be left in the cold."
Senator Olufemi Lanlehin was critical of the power the Bill gave the president to grant oil license, while Senator Akin Odunsi said that with the consensus building up, the Senate was on the right track towards delivering a bill that would put Nigeria on the right path.
In his own contribution, Senator Abdulahi Adamu said he accepted the need to reform the oil and gas sector because of the alarming lack of transparency and accountability in the sector, while Senator Abdul Ningi picked holes in the 10 per cent host communities fund, saying it was not implementable.


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