By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to expedite action on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill to alleviate the sufferings of oil producing communities.
Otuaro made this appeal while receiving members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) at Warri in Warri South West Local Government Area of the state.
Otuaro expressed sadness that the environment of the oil bearing communities and their only means of livelihood in the Niger Delta have been adversely eroded as a result of oil exploration and exploitation activities over the years without corrective measures.
This he said has “invariably affected the aquatic lives and farms of the host communities.”
“I am happy about the on going debate in the PIB bill so that the communities can have their fair share of the oil deal, that is just natural , because everything about their aquatic culture and farming is completely gone,” Otuaro stated.
“ We saw crude oil littering the river while driving through the Escravos river, everywhere is just polluted, the means of livelihood of the people is completely gone and it is just natural and fair that something is done to alleviate the sufferings of the people,” he said.
Addressing press men after his visit to some oil bearing communities in Delta State, at Okerenkoko Jetty, the Co- Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill, (PIB), Rt. Honourable Muhammad Mongono, said, “the essence of the visit is to come and see the extent of degradation, occasioned by the exploration and exploitation of oil in the communities with a view to taking the necessary steps towards ameliorating the situation. “
He also disclosed that the present proposal before the floor of the House was to set aside 2.5 percent of oil earnings to address the degradation of oil producing communities, occasioned by the constant exploration and exploitation of oil.
“Right now, the proposal before the floor of the House is for 2.5 percent, but there is agitations on the part of the host communities for it to be increase to 5 percent. “
He pointed out that with “regards to the issues of the PIB, I assure you that there is the will, determination and enthusiasm on the part of the executive and legislators to pass this bill, with the speed of light.”
He emphasised that the need to expressly pass the PIB had become necessary, stressing that no institution could thrive in the absence of peace.
His words, “ this is as a result of the fact that there is the need for us to have peace in the Niger Delta so that the exploration of oil will be done without hindrance and with all the attendant effects of bringing more revenue to the country for the purpose of deploying it to an infrastructural needs.”