PIB Will Address Concerns Of Host Communities – Senator Bassey Albert
Concerns of alleged marginalization raised by oil-producing communities resulting from oil exploration activities will be sufficiently addressed by the Petroleum Industry Bill now before the National Assembly. The assurance was given by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, during a visit of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill to Imo/Abia States to access the impact of Petroleum exploration activities on host communities, Tuesday. According to Senator Albert, the perceived marginalization of the Oil minerals-producing areas in the Niger Delta region will become a thing of the past once the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by the President of Nigeria. Albert, who led the delegation to Imo/Abia States, said the committee was in the areas to interface and document the concerns of oil-producing communities in order to have them reflect in the PIB. He explained that the bill seeks to address challenges facing the nation in the areas of governance, administration, regulation, and fiscal framework in the Oil and Gas Industry, while promoting accountability, transparency, and building strong institutions to maximize expectations. Receiving the team, Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, said the bill was apt and in line with the yearnings of communities that are ravaged as a result of oil exploration activities. Governor Uzodinma charged the committee to ensure all issues affecting the people are captured in their report. At a town hall meeting, stakeholders from the oil-producing communities engaged the committee on key issues related to the environmental impact of oil exploration, employment opportunities, and neglect as well as Cooperate Social Responsibilities, CSR, memorandum of understanding, MoU, and a host of other issues. Senator Albert, who represents Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District, and his committee members later departed Owerri for Umuahia, for consultation with stakeholders from oil-producing communities of Abia State. The joint committee also has members assigned to Cross River/Akwa Ibom, Edo/Ondo, Rivers/Bayelsa, and Delta States for a similar mission.