Bayelsa-based Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) has called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to address the long years of neglect of the oil-producing region.
The oil monitoring group also said in a statement by its President Nelly Emma, Secretary, John Sailor, and Public Relations Officer, Stanley Mukoro, that it was worried over the future of impoverished region.
Reviewing the progress of the Nigerian Content initiative in the oil and gas industry, which clocks three years in this April, NDIMRC tasked President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on the perceived lapses in the implementation of the Act.
“We have observed that some Nigerians are against the passage of the PIB because it is favourable to the Niger Delta people and this development is very worrisome. It is indeed sad that the bill has not been passed 13 years after it was initiated,” the statement said.
“It is disturbing that a bill central to the oil economy of the nation is suffering such delay. We are very worried over the future of our suffering people and the oil communities hence we are calling for the urgent passage of the PIB to address the long years of neglect of the Niger Delta region and empowerment of our people,” the statement added.
NDIMRC noted that Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan on April 22, 2010 to enforce the growth of local capacity and promote indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry.
It however alleged that if urgent steps were not taken to address certain weaknesses in the system, the excitement shown by indigenous operators over the Act would soon die down.
“On April 22, 2010, when the President signed the Act into Law, we were so excited, but three years on, we cannot say that this is time for celebration because our people in the region who invested heavily in capacity building as a result of their high hope in the Nigerian Content are not being encouraged by the International Oil Companies (IOCs),” NDIMRC said.
The group stressed that the people of the Niger Delta region should be given a better deal for their resources, and alleged that three years after the Nigerian Content was signed into Law, foreign contractors were still cornering all the juicy contracts, leaving companies owned by the people of the Niger Delta in penury.
The group charged the president and the minister to go back to the drawing board and find out why the Nigerian Content had not empowered investors from the Niger Delta region.