- A non-governmental organisation has praised President Buhari for refusing to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill
- The group noted that the decline of assent to the bill was a step in the right direction
- President Buhari in August declined to give assent to the bill, on the grounds that it whittled down the powers of the minister of petroleum resources
Social Action, a non-governmental organisation, praised President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill recently passed by both chambers of the National Assembly, The Punch reports.
The head of the National Advocacy Centre and director of Programmes, Social Action, Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, in a statement on Monday, September 17, in Abuja said the decline of assent to the bill by Buhari was a step in the right direction.
Recall that in August, the president declined to give assent to the controversial bill, which has been in the making for more than 10 years on the grounds that it whittled down the powers of the minister of petroleum resources, which he presently occupies.
According to Bellonwu-Okafor, Civil Society Organisations and community groups, including Social Action, had earlier raised the alarm on the gaping holes and major shortcomings in the bill and the potential danger these held for the environment, the lives and livelihoods of oil-bearing communities’ residents as well as the industry itself.
She said: “At present, the entire atmosphere of a state in the Niger Delta, Rivers State, is enveloped in black deadly soot, masking every object or item in that place and stealthily decimating the lives of millions of people living there and inhaling the pollution, of which experts have attributed to combustion of fossil fuel, petroleum.
“It is, therefore, appalling that the National Assembly, against all well-meaning pleas to bring back the comprehensive Petroleum Industry Bill and jettison the piecemeal PIGB, which did not even make any pretence to care about or recognise the lives and rights of host communities or the environment, and at best simply authored confusion and double-standards in establishing petroleum regulatory institutions for the industry, went ahead and passed it."
In a previous report by Legit.ng, the presidency explained why President Muhammadu Buhari withheld assent on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.
The senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, made the fact known to State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday, August 29. He maintained that none of the reasons for the president withholding his assent adduced by the media was true.
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Enang said the president had since communicated why he declined assent to the bill although the communication had yet to be read in the two chambers of the National Assembly.
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