The rising anger over the passage and signing of the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) into law deepened on Thursday with the Ijaw Youths from the six states of the Niger Delta region declaring that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva are no longer welcome to the region over their roles.
The Ijaw Youths, said despite the fact that the duo of President Buhari and Chief Sylva have the constitutional rights to move to any parts of the country, their movement into the six states of the Niger Delta will be welcome with boos and disgraceful jeers due to their show of disregard to the plights and cry of the people of the region over the years.
The Ijaw Youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, had earlier on Tuesday rejected the signing of the controversial Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the signing of the PIB into law is a total affront to the outcry of the people of the Niger Delta region against the three per cent provision for the oil producing communities.
The National Spokesman of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, said the decision not to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari and Chief Timipre Sylva to the region was a further show of disdain to their drop in the ratings of the Niger Delta people and should not expect any accolades and congratulatory messages from the region.
Ekerefe insisted that the best course of action to have been taken by the President was to send the Bill back to the National Assembly for upward review of the 3 per cent equity share to host communities whose environments had suffered decades of oil exploration activities by the oil companies. Therefore, a substantial percentage to the hostcom would’ve helped to address this age long criminality. “Until that is done, there’s nothing to celebrate”.
On the explanation offered by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva on the 3%, Ekerefe described the explanation as an afterthought. He said what the Minister should’ve done as an illustrious son of the soil was to apologize and appeal to the consciences of our people, rather than justifying an act which is politically tailored to favor the north and its allies in the industry.
Ekerefe, noted that it is a rape to justice and equity for the National Assembly to pass 3% equity share to the host communities while passing 30% to frontier basins which in our view is grossly inadequate and it is against the unanimous 10% agreement by stakeholders for Hostcom when the National Assembly visited the region.
“With the amount of speed the president used in signing the PIB without recourse to the stem stand by stakeholders from the region, the president has further demonstrated that the opinions of the Niger delta people don’t matter in his government as we’ve witnessed in other areas that requires urgent attention of his government”.
“In the light of the forgoing, there’s no better time for the people of the Niger Delta region to intensify the struggle for resource control and self-determination,“We believe strongly that that will be the only sure path upon which our God giving natural resources can be managed by us, and not this impunity we’ve witnessed from a repressive federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari.”