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Udom Picks Hole In PIA, Says It Marginalises Niger Delta

Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed the disappointment over the obvious shortcomings in the much-expected Petroleum Industry Act (PIA)

Governor Udom Emmanuel said the disappointment emanated from the fact that the Act did not accommodate major contributions and interests of the zone.

In a keynote address presented on his behalf by the Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Charles Udoh, at the official opening of an enlightenment workshop on the PIA, yesterday, at Ibom Icon Hotel, Uyo, the governor particularly made reference to Sections 235 and 242 of the Act “which gives absolute power to the settlor (company) to appoint the executive chairman and members of the board of trustees for the Host Community Community Development Trust Fund (HCDTF).

“Most worrisome is Section 6(2a) of the recent Nigerian Host Community Development Regulations unveiled on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 which gives only 500 metres as distance to determine host communities appurtenances to deep water areas of operation.

“I believe the oil and gas companies should see the need to liaise with all stakeholders before appointing members of the board of trustees and other arms of the trust fund to avoid mistrust and agitations.

“In all addition, there should be increased state government participation in all processes that involve the host communities and the settlers for effective resolution of conflicts and disagreements.”

The governor said the Act has opened opportunities for effective development of the people and infrastructure in the host communities, which are often plagued with incidences of oil spills, particularly, those classified as mystery spills which devastate the environment.

“These spills were neither cleared, nor environmentally remediated. These events impose hardship  on the health and livelihood of the people. It is expected that if Section 104(4) is implemented to the letter, it would provide funds to remediate the environment in order to cushion the effects of pollution occasioned by oil spills on the people.

“Therefore, I will advocate that the ‘commission’ and the ‘authority’ should be proactive in ensuring that degraded environments in host communities are well remediated and the ecosystem restored,” the governor said.

Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, John Etim, whose ministry organised the workshop, explained that most stakeholders of the host communities

unveiling of the Upstream Petroleum Host Community Regulations on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, which our people have to know to enable them to make informed decisions.

“Oil and gas companies operating in the state equally appreciated that there is a knowledge gap in understanding the provision of the Act among the people of the host communities and consequently, opted to collaborate with the ministry to ensure awareness be created the enable a smooth takeoff of the HCDTF,” Etim said.

Source: Sun

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