DAVID WEST TEARS PETROLEUM BILL APART
Former Petroleum Minister, Prof. Tam David-West has said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was laden with hidden agenda. Consequently, he would want the National Assembly to carefully purge the Bill now before it, of its controversial provisions.
Prof. David-West made the call on Monday in his keynote address at the opening session of a three-day International Oil and Gas summit organized in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
He would specifically want the federal lawmakers to, 'responsibly look very closely' at the Bill he tagged: The Alhaji Rilwan Lukman Bill and work on it, 'line by line'.
The former minister went further to urge the legislators not to be lazy in scrutinizing the controversial Bill.
'There should be no laziness even though it is voluminous, rambling and in many ways geo-politically indented.
'Infact, a clear evidence of the rambling and many hidden agenda nature is that the title of the Bill itself is forty words.'
In his reasoning, 'a Bill that has forty words cannot be a serious Bill'
Prof. David-West would also want the oil-producing states to collectively set up a body of experts to study the Bill 'very closely' identify the areas of conflict with their visions.
On the development of oil and gas energy policy, he advised the government to set up, 'a panel of legal and constitutional experts' to advise it comprehensively on the issue.
He urged that membership of the proposed panel should be 'as small as possible' and their honorarium, 'as low as possible' because, 'the lower the honorarium, the greater chances of having selfless service.'
Prof. David-West reminded the authorities that, 'oil or crude oil energy is both commodity as well as political weapon.'
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Tele Ikuru said the state government had sent more than 2000 Rivers people for training in oil and gas locally and aboard.
The deputy governor who stood in for Governor Chibuike Amaechi decried the alleged voluntary and deliberate retirement of Rivers State natives in the oil and gas sector.
He urged the Federal Government to review the social responsibility programmes of multinational companies in the country.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Dr. Dawari George urged the National Assembly to urgently review the relevant sections of the constitution to allow for greater participation of the people in the management of their resources.