‘‘This unholy law may wake up a new avoidable season of unrest in the region”
PAN Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and other stakeholders of Niger Delta have disavowed the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which President Muhammadu Buhari assented to, yesterday, as passed by the National Assembly, saying the people would speak on the catastrophic and abominable action of Mr President after full discussions.
However, some citizens called for calm, blaming the disastrous affair on Niger Delta lawmakers and governors, who did not take appropriate steps to lobby other sections of the country on their position.
The regional group in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Hon Ken Robinson, said: “The Niger Delta people will speak, shortly, after full consultations, on this callous act, on the best legal and political response.
“It is quite unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari went ahead to assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill despite the overwhelming outcry and condemnation that greeted its passage by the National Assembly, especially with regards to the paltry three per cent provision for the Host Communities Development Trust Fund and the brazen appropriation of an outrageous 30 per cent of NNPC Ltd profit for a dubious, nebulous Frontier Oil Exploration Fund.”
“This assent by President Buhari simply speaks to the repugnant attitude of disregard, propelled by arrogance, disdain and contempt with which issues concerning the Niger Delta region are treated, particularly by the present administration.
“What this Act signifies is an unequivocal message to the Niger Delta people that how they feel and what they say, do not count, at all, in the schemes of the Nigerian project.
“That it is insensitive, abominable and a far every boundary of proper democratic practice and, therefore, unacceptable to the good people of the Niger Delta, the critical economic nexus of the entire Nigerian territory,” he said.
It’s unfair ― Senator Owie
Former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Roland Owie expressed disappointment over the signing of PIB as passed by President Muhammadu Buhari despite opposition to the three per cent approved for oil-producing communities but expressed hope that it would be amended in future to take adequate care of the host areas.
He said: “Well, what do we do, the Benin has a parable that if a man’s manhood is unable to perform its function; you cannot use the hand to do it. Since the president has assented to it, all we need to do is to keep what has been done and start working towards an increase of the allocation to the oil-producing communities. “
“If we cannot get it now, the world will not end because of that. If we cannot get what we think is fair from the present government, by the grace of God, we can get it from the subsequent government because we cannot say because we did not get it, then it should be reversed since it has been signed into law.
“Even though that is not what we desire, that is not what our people deserve, it is injustice but we have to accept because that is the position of the law. We have to be hoping that we will get a review in future under the new legislation,” he said.
Why Buhari speedily gave assent ― Hon Igbodor, ex-Reps member
Former House of Representatives from Cross Rivers State, Hon Peter Igbodor, informed that the bill was hurriedly signed because it favoured the North more than the South where the oil comes from.
Igbodor said it was really disheartening that simply because pipelines passed through a community in the north, they have to get paid or receive something, adding that effective representation of our lawmakers at the National Assembly was not felt because they did not represent us well at all.
Assault on N’Delta ― Ikwerre people
The Ikwerre People’s Congress, IPC, Worldwide, in Rivers state, described the signing of the controversial PIB, by President Muhammadu Buhari as an assault on the people of oil-rich Niger Delta.
Chairman of IPC, Livingstone Wechie, in Port Harcourt, said the president did not give attention to the calls by leaders of the region on the need to change the figures and decisions of the national assembly on the said bill.
“IPC sees the action of President Muhammadu Buhari in going ahead to sign the controversial, highly unpopular and disputed PIB as one of the most grievous assaults on the indigenous people and ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta.
“IPC views this enactment as a corrosive attack on the interest of the Niger Delta as it affects the notorious PIB which had been seriously questioned particularly in the face of our demand for resource ownership rights. IPC worries that the new law is in furtherance to the asset-stripping by the Nigerian state, which must devastate the Niger Delta, particularly the oil-producing communities at all costs.
“Our fear is that this unholy law may wake up a new avoidable season of unrest in the region. The implications remain that national rebirth and healing will be a long road and an almost impossible journey if the Nigerian government continues to ignore minority questioner.
“We caution that any law that is unacceptable to the people upon whom it will bind may not get the desired result for sustainable development. It was expected that the federal government, including the National Assembly, would have used the opportunity of the PIB to cure some of the injuries caused by the Land Use Act and Petroleum Act where all the natural resources and assets of the Niger Delta was sequestered, leaving the region totally impoverished and without a stake.
“Instead, the federal government in conspiracy with the international oil multinationals along with the shameless representatives of the Niger Delta in the Senate and House of Representatives have slavishly acquiesced to this jungle justice.
“This is another missed opportunity by the federal government to create a better partnership with the Niger Delta ethnic nationalities. Rather, it chose to ignore and disregard the voice and advocacy of the people at such a sensitive matter.
“We charge all the indigenous ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta not to give up in their push for justice because the quest for self-determination is justified by these insensitive actions of the federal government,” the Ikwerre group said.
Buhari should’ve vetoed bill ― Mulade, Delta guber aspirant
Governorship aspirant for the 2023 governorship elections in Delta state, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, said in Warri: “What the National Assembly did seemed insulting, but we had thought that President Muhammadu Buhari would heed the calls and cries of the people of Niger Delta before giving assent to the bill.”
“He should have used his presidential veto power to increase or amend it and send it back to the National Assembly for consideration. The demands of host communities should be considered and as we have rejected three per cent,” he added.
We won’t accept 3% ― Mumakai, APC stalwart
Former Presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, who also spoke in Warri, asserted: “President Mohammadu Buhari signing the PIB against the overwhelmingly wishes of the Niger Deltans does not come as a surprise package.
I saw it coming because the President as part of the agenda to arm-twist the good people. This is to confirm that he is not a democrat pretending to be a man with integrity. He is using fist iron hand on Nigerians. Just imagine how he rushes to sign the bill despite our agitations. In any case, we will not accept the three per cent is a slap on us.”
“Although our people will not engage in violent protest, but peaceful to drive home our demand. If the oil is found in any part of the North, he would have appropriated 10 or 20 per cent to them. It is unfair and unjust for the people to be treated as if they are conquered in the midst of plenty that is sustaining the country.
“The Nigerian government is spending billions of dollars from the oil sector to acquire arms to fight security, yet the people laying the golden eggs cannot be considered for good condition of lives. When our people protest, the same arms bought with our money will be used against us.
“Go to towns and villages, it an eye sour exercise of pitiable condition as hungry-looking youths roaming the area hopelessly. The elderly ones with bare nakedness litter everywhere, I hardly find it difficult to say we are operating civilian government.
“The Niger Delta seems to be conquered areas by few cabals, who keep telling us we are one Nigeria or Nigeria must be united all cost. The other day, I saw the Chief of Defence Staff preaching the gospel of unity and I just shook my head. Yes, Nigeria must be united but it should not be on the expense of anybody,” Mumakai said.
This is calamity ― Clarkson, MOSIEND
Legal practitioner and former spokesman, Movement for Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, MOSIEND, Amaebi Clarkson, said: “For me, I am not surprised that Mr President assented to this controversial Act. It further reinforced the open Fulani agenda of this government. It is also a shame to the legislators from the region who are self-centred with no iota of interest in the Niger Delta.”
“While all the northern legislators from both political divides are always in agreement on issues of northern interest, our legislators would foolishly view issues on political line even where the interest of the region is at stake. If our legislators had shown more than passing interest at the earliest stage of the bill and consulted with their constituencies, we may have averted this calamity. The law is passed in bad faith and we condemned it in its totally,” he averred.
Nothing to cheer ― Gbemre
On his part, Coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, Zik Gbemre, said, “Nothing to cheer about. The presidential accent concludes the last act on a script of conspiracy that began with the introduction of the PIB and all the drama that came with it.
“Nothing to cheer because even 3 per cent has been made to feel like a favour to the Niger Delta. Worst of all, a Minister of State for Petroleum from the Niger Delta does not even believe the region’s oil communities deserve more than 2.5 per cent.
“This is another law not formulated on fairness and justice or popular wish of we the people, but borne out of political bias where all that mattered was a number of votes and not object appraisal,” he said.
Deed already done – Bishop Isong, PFN scribe
National Publicity Secretary, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Bishop Emma Isong, speaking at Calabar, Cross River State, said: “Though I have not read the grey areas, the president has the right to sign the bill into law and it is the law. There is nothing anyone can do about it. All negotiations, corrections and arguments should have been done during the second reading, not now.
“However, we should have a say in the laws that govern us, stakeholders must have a say, we do not even know if the right process was followed as it concerns the PIB, but the deed has been done,” he added.
~~with Vanguard Report
Nigeria Triumph In Dubai Spelling Bee Challenge Despite Sponsorship Woes
Nigeria colours is currently flying high in far away United Arab Emirate, where her team came 1st in the senior category of an intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held at the weekend.
Nigeria team featured in 2 categories of the 2021 Intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held on Friday 24th September at the Best Western plus Hotel Deira Creek Dubai.
The team came 1st in the senior category courtesy Oni Inioluwa Daniel of the Ambassadors College, Ota and Nigeria also came 3rd with Olujobi Oluwadarasimi Opeyemi also of Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State.
In the junior category Pearl Koshi Etika-Matthews Eni Memorial High School, Calabar, Cross Rivers State came 2nd, whilst Nanret Adamu from St. Augustine College, DU, Jos, Plateau State emerged the most promising Speller in the Senior category.
The Nigerian Consulate in Dubai was ably represented by Consul Prince Wale Awolesi, who donated $500 of his personal funds to the over $4,000 left to settle their bill.
Akin Olu-Philips the executive director Of Peat Philips Foundation, led the team to a successful outing in Dubai.
Female Journalist Laments EFCC Night Invasion Of Her Bedroom, Kitchen
A woman journalist, Mrs. Norah Okafor, has alerted authorities to the invasion of her home in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, by over 25 masked operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The incident, she said, took place on Thursday between 1:36 a.m and 2 a.m.
“At exactly 1:36 a.m, I was alerted by my brother that there were armed robbers at my gate trying to make their way into the compound. Because it was an electric fence, I didn’t bother enough because I felt they could not make their way in. Alas, I was wrong. At 2 a.m prompt, they entered the compound, and they came prepared. There were over 25 of them in two Hilux buses. They were masked and dressed in all-black attire.
A huge member of the team climbed the fence with a pair of pliers and immediately cut off parts of the wires. He jumped into the compound and, with an axe, broke the gate key open to enable the team enter my apartment.
“As a nude sleeper, while they tried to make their way into the compound, I found something to wear while my brothers and I were thinking of a way of escape. The worst case scenario for me was that they would rape or take the only valuable available (a car key).
So, I prepared my mind. The next thing I realised was that about seven of them were in my room with shouts of ‘Lie down, face down; (switch) on the light. Where’s your phone? Where’s your car key?’ They asked for so many things and I became confused. Seeing over 25 hefty men with different kinds of guns, mhen, e don be, be that (It had finally happened, I presumed).
“I handed the phone over to them with the key. Before then, they had taken my laptop. I turned to be sure if they were armed robbers.
They asked for my passwords to all the devices collected with masking tape to identify each. Still in shock, I heard someone destroying everything in the kitchen, my room, that of my brothers and all the drawers. I was still asking myself: what’s happening?
“They asked me to stand and follow them downstairs. Lo and beyond, they unmasked themselves. Hmmmm! Are these criminals? I asked. All my neighbours were already going through the same pain as I was.
They had given my brothers the beating of their lives, carried my neighbour downstairs and tried unlocking all the cars in the compound. And after searching all the phones and laptops, three of them walked in. Behold, they were from EFCC.
“What?” I screamed.
“Shut up” was the next thing I heard.
“When they couldn’t open my phone, they asked me to, and I did. After a while, I asked them: ‘Please, where is your office so I can come and pick up my things on my way to work?’ They asked me what I do and I said I’m a journalist. They asked my neighbour and he said ‘lawyer’; the other one a ‘doctor’.
“They looked at me, handed over the phones and said: ‘We just wasted our time.’
“Those fools spent over one hour molesting and destroying things in this compound. I feel so pained and embarrassed right now. “Is this how EFCC operates? How did we get here? Who is the informant? I am just confused right now. Thank God, my mum isn’t here…”
Yoruba Nation, Biafra Agitators, Two Others Protest As Buhari Addresses UN Assembly Today
While two of the groups are protesting against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the third group will demonstrate in support of the ex-military leader.
One of the groups comprising Yoruba Nation and Biafra agitators, Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, is headed by Prof Banji Akintoye.
Also, activists under the aegis of TakeItBack movement have mobilised for a protest at UN headquarters in New York with demands.
PUNCH gathered that the last group would be holding a pro-Buhari protest tagged, ‘One Nigeria March.’
Akintoye explained that NINAS’ protest tagged, ‘Million-Man Freedom March,’ was to show the world “the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government of Nigeria.”
He also said the agitators “are demanding the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood”.
The renowned historian accused the Federal Government of sponsoring the counter-protest at UN headquarters, alleging that black foreigners living in the United States of America were “hired at $500 per head.”
Akintoye, in a statement on Thursday by NINAS Director of Public Communications, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, said, “Irrespective of the material and financial superiorities of these Lions, there’s no way they can defeat United Foxes in a democracy.
“The Friday Grand March in New York shall be historic; hence, the Nigerian government is jittery. The ring leader of government officials and a top Lagos journalist are now in New York to start hiring black people who will pretend as Nigerians to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria protest to counter NINAS.
“But we refuse to be rattled. We shall not be intimidated. No oppressor has ever triumphed against the collective will of the people. The people are the government and power belongs to the people. The people make the constitution.”
TakeitBack Movement’s Global Director of Mobilisation, Gbola Owoborode, listed four demands for the activists’ protest, among which were that the leader of Independent People of Biafra and Yoruba Nation activists, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, should be freed.
He said, “The regime should also free Sowore, unconditionally and drop all charges, of which he has been falsely accused.
“We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho and the over 300 #endSARS activists still under illegal detention, as well as an end to terrorism, kidnappings. and banditry that has completely ravaged the entire country.
“The resignation of the Buhari regime that is incompetent, lawless, despotic, nepotistic and corrupt.
It has failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians which is their primary responsibility as a government. The Buhari Junta must go!”
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