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PIB: Southern Governors Reject 3% for Host Communities

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Governors of the 17 states in the southern part of Nigeria have rejected the 3 per cent share of oil revenue being proposed by the Senate to host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) passed last Thursday by the National Assembly.

At a meeting of the Southern Governors held on Monday in Lagos, they instead aligned with the 5 per cent proposed by the House of Representatives in the same bill.

The 3 per cent share has been generating controversies since last Thursday, with the people of the Niger Delta region describing the share as unjust and unfair.

They wondered why the Senate gave them a “mere” 3 per cent but proposed a 30 per cent share of profits for the exploration of oil and gas in areas the government is in search of the commodity. The Southern Governors Forum also shared their views as they also rejected the 30 per cent for basins.

In a communique issued at the end of their gathering, the Governors though commended the parliament for the “progress made in the passage of the PIB,” want the grey areas promptly addressed before the bill is transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

The Governor also kicked against the ownership structure of the proposed Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).

According to them, the new company should not be vested in the Federal Ministry of Finance but be held in trust by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) since all tiers of government have stakes in it.

On open grazing, which they rejected in their first meeting in Asaba, Delta State in May 2021, a timeline of Wednesday, September 1, 2021, was set for the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law in all member states.

As the 2023 general elections draw closer, the Governors unanimously agreed that for equity and fairness, the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the southern region, while they rejected the removal of the electronic transmission of the election results from the electoral act, arguing that this will not “consolidate our democracy and strengthen the electoral process.”

“They reaffirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people” and reemphasised the need for state police for the safety of citizens.

The Governors resolved that if for any reason security institutions need to undertake an operation in any state, the Chief Security Officer of the state must be duly informed, frowning at “selective criminal administration of justice and resolved that arrests should be made within the ambit of the law and fundamental human rights.”

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