To my understanding, the current form of the PIB is not in anyway, in favour of the owners of the Crude oil. By removing the 10% in the initial PIB, it means they are denying us of our rights. There have been several oil spills that occurred at the wellheads and along the pipelines. And these spills adversely affect the communities; with no benefits to the impacted communities. The removal of the 10% meant for host communities means that things will deteriorate and; where will help come from? Instead of removing the 10% host communities’ fund; I would rather advocate for the percentage to be increased in the PIB before its passage into law. There is no way we will fold our hands to see this bill passed. Another thing of grave concern is the area which talked about arrest of anyone who happens to interfere with oil production and if found guilty; the person will be either fined N5million or six months imprisonment. That is very unfair because; they fail to take into consideration that members of host community have the right to express themselves when things are not going on well. We have freedom of speech and, is this PIB trying to gag us? Does it mean that whatever oil companies do in our environment we should just keep quiet and watch them? If our voices are not taken seriously, then we will resort to other necessary actions to express our disapproval by approaching whoever/whatever is in our environment. And, this shouldn’t lead to arrest, detention and payment of fines and, we should not be embarrassed. These are some of the reasons we are saying no to the PIB in its present form.
How would you want the PIB to be?… When we look back, we can see that Crude oil is not the first in terms of resources this country has dealt with. We had Cocoa, Groundnut and Palm oil. And, the derivation was better in those days; why is that of crude oil different? I would want to see a PIB which allow those on whose land the resources are to control the resource and; if the Federal Government will not allow what I have suggested; then the Host Communities should be given 25% and this should be expressly state in the PIB. The development of our communities should also be part of the PIB. For instance in the year 2014 our community, Kalaba went into MOU with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company just to install a 2000 litres capacity water tank for the community. We signed that Memorandum Of Understanding since 2014, but up till today [3rd May, 2016] nothing has been done by Agip. And yet, owing to the company’s facility in our environment our only source of water is polluted. That is why I say removing the host community fund from the PIB tantamount to a slap to the entire host communities.