NASS Told To Review Petroleum Industry Act Amid Violation of Citizens’ Rights in Oil-Rich Regions

NASS Told To Review Petroleum Industry Act Amid Violation of Citizens’ Rights in Oil-Rich Regions

FCT, Abuja - Connected Development (CODE) has appealed for the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 to be reevaluated to safeguard the interests of communities hosting oil exploration activities.

Hamzat Lawal, Executive Director of CODE, emphasised this during a press briefing in Abuja.

There is a call for a review on the PIA Act of 2021
The national assembly has been urged to re-evaluate the Petroleum Industry Act 2021. Photo Credit: The Nigerian Senate
Source: Facebook

He highlighted the "Power of Voices Initiative" supported by OXFAM in the FCT, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, and Cross Rivers States to ensure community participation and benefit from oil exploration endeavours.

The enacted PIA 2021 aims to establish guidelines and financial structures for regulating the Nigerian Petroleum Industry.

Lawal revealed that the Petroleum Industry Act suggests establishing community trust funds, with oil-producing companies required to contribute a designated portion of their earnings to these funds.

Read also

Nigerian state government moves to convert petrol cars, keke, generators to run on gas

He noted that the project's objective is to examine how oil companies assist community members in creating and managing these accounts for distribution purposes.

He said:

“My engagement shows that the oil companies are creating a bottleneck in the disbursement and utilisation of the funds and, in most of these communities we visited, they are aggrieved”.
“What the Petroleum Industry Act, has done is to give so much power to the oil companies. This must be reviewed so that power goes back to the communities where we do our oil and gas exploration.”

Nigeria urged to adopt foreign-like policies to protect host communities

In an interview with following the press conference, Ruth Okafor, a lead member in the "Power of Voices Initiative," emphasised that interactions with a range of parties, including government agencies and local community members, have highlighted deficiencies in the execution of the Host Community Development Trust Fund (HCDT).

Read also

Healthcare: Good news as stakeholders move to create policies to protect PWDs

She said:

"Although some communities in Akwa Ibom have set up their trust fund, a common challenge across the communities where the funds have been set up and not set up has been the power given to the settlors.
"As much as we want to ensure that settlors have a good business environment, we must be sensitive to the communities affected by their exploration."

She highlighted the importance of drawing lessons from developed nations to adopt policies effectively within the Nigerian context.

Ms Okafor emphasised that if a policy encounters significant challenges during implementation, it needs more comprehensive coverage and necessitates a thorough reassessment.


Online view pixel