A physical fight between host communities, on Thursday, broke out at the ongoing public hearing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) organised by the House of Representatives.
The fight began when the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas was called to the podium to make a presentation. When other associations objected to some points being raised, a rowdy session soon ensued.
The incident deteriorated when members of the opposing sides began to exchange in fistfights, forcing the lawmakers to seek the intervention of security operatives.
Speaking at a news conference, spokesperson of the CSOs and host communities in the Niger Delta, Botti Isaac said the current PIB will not protect the host communities as it leaves them at the mercies of the oil companies.
Isaac also said the bill when passed and signed into law will promote confusion in the Niger Delta and further expose the communities to environmental degradation and untold hardship.
He accused the National Assembly of not allowing a fair and adequate opportunity for vulnerable stakeholders in the region to have a say in the legislative processes towards passing the PIB.
Similarly, the leaders of the oil-rich areas under the aegis of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas had on Tuesday, rejected the 2.5 per cent proposed for them in the Petroleum Industry Bill 2020, being considered by the joint Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources, (Downstream, Upstream and Gas).
The leaders stressed that nothing short of the 10 per cent of the operating expenditure they were demanding would be acceptable to them because the proposed 2.5 per cent was grossly inadequate to provide basic social amenities and improve the standard of living of their people.
The position of host communities demanding 10 per cent of the operating expenditure of the oil firms to set up a trust fund was, however, faulted by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
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