Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has stated that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) when passed and diligently implemented would resolve majority of the developmental and environmental challenges facing oil producing communities of the Niger Delta.
Wike also urged the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill to ensure that it tackles critical issues on the bill comprehensively to avoid further crisis when the House passes the legislation.
Speaking at the Government House Port Harcourt yesterday during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, Wike said the oil producing communities have suffered untold hardship which must be addressed holistically.
He said: â€œOur people have suffered so much. When people donâ€™t understand what we experience, they criticise needlessly . I donâ€™t think you will take lightly our challenges.
â€œI think this bill will cure a lot of environmental challenges in the Niger Delta. I urge this committee to put into consideration our terrain as you conclude on this bill.â€
He noted that the Niger Delta environment is highly polluted because of oil and gas operations in the area, pointing out that the Federal Government must invest in the resolution of these issues.
Wike noted that the Petroleum Industry Bill is a controversial bill that has attracted attention because it has to do with oil bearing communities.
â€œIf you rush the passage of this bill, you will create crisis. With the experience of the chairman of this committee, I believe the committee will do an excellent job,â€ he said.
The governor said the Rivers State Government would make a comprehensive presentation on her position on the bill to the committee.
In his remarks, Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, Honourable Alhassan Doguwa, said in order to avoid the mistakes of the past, the House of Representatives is working in synergy with the Senate to ensure early passage of the bill.
He said the bill has been segmented into components for easier administration and passage.
The federal lawmaker said the Senate has passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, while it has undergone the first and second reading at the House of Representatives awaiting passage.
He said the National Assembly is committed to delivering on this national assignment because of its relevance to the host communities and the development of the oil and gas sector.
Doguwa said the retreat on the PIB was holding in Port Harcourt because of the strategic importance of Rivers State to the Petroleum Industry.
He commended Wike for his achievements and urged him to keep the flag of projects delivery flying.