Senators from Nigeria's six
oil-producing states Wednesday rejected a proposed oil and gas sector reform
The Petroleum Industry Bill is currently being debated both in parliament
and at public hearings.
George Sekibo of Rivers State, one of the objecting lawmakers, said the bill does not adequately address the core concerns of
the Niger Delta region.
Petroleum Industry Bill is supposed to be a reform bill on the petroleum
sector. Unfortunately, the proposal is focusing only on the production aspect
and the commercial aspect without considering the environment where this being
explored and also carrying along the local people,” he said.
said he and other senators opposed to the bill are asking Nigerian President
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to withdraw the bill.
it is too drastic, but you see we need to protect our people; we need to
protect our future. And what is happening now is like the Niger Delta has no
future. Our future is more important than any drastic decision one can take
now,” Sekibo said.
also defended the objecting lawmakers’ request for President Yar’Adua to
dismiss Oil Minister Rilwanu Lukman.
want him to be replaced because his attitude, his utterances are not utterances
that can bring peace in the Niger Delta region...so we think that we need a
better person, a de-tribalized Nigerian who can see the suffering of the
people, and if he is making recommendations have them in mind,” he said.
main militant group in the Niger Delta, the Movement for the Emancipation of
the Niger Delta said its struggle is about the equitable distribution of oil
said the senator’s rejection of the Petroleum Industry Bill does not further
inflame the crisis in the Niger Delta.
area is already inflamed; it’s already burning. I don’t think it will burn more
than it is already burning. We believe that Mr. President may have good
thinking for the people of the region. But perhaps those who coming between him
and administrative process may be doing the wrong thing,” he said.
Senator Sekibo said it does not make sense
for President Yar’Adua to offer amnesty to militants without what he called a