…Says Nigeria loses $60bn through non-implementation of 18yr-old law
By Ukpono Ukpong
Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, has slammed President Mohammadu Buhari’s led government for conceding to pressures from the International Oil Companies, IOC’s, to reject the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, as against the overall interest of Nigerians.
Speaking as the lead speaker at the at the 40th anniversary celebration of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Falana also blamed the Federal Government for deliberately sabotaging the provisions of the Local Content Act in a desperate bid to please foreign investors.
“This year the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, that has been waiting for passage since 2007 was rejected by President Mohammadu Buhari for no reasons. The IOC’s strongly opposed that law.
Speaking in the topic, ‘Local Content in Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry: Wherein Lies Interest of Nigerian Workers?’ Falana maintained that the “provisions of the Act may be deliberately sabotaged by a government that is prepared to sign any agreements in a desperate bid to please foreign investors.”
He went further to state that a situation whereby the IOCs are allowed to influence the appointment of the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the management staff of the regulatory bodies in the oil and gas industry must stop.
“In other words, the operators in the oil and gas industry must not regulate themselves. The law is quite comprehensive in scope.” He noted
While lauding NUPENG for its contribution towards the achievement of the current democratic dispensation enjoyed in the country, he called on the oil workers to brazen up and compel the government to implement the provisions of the Local Content Act.
Falana also noted that while IOC’s has continued to wield a lot of influence in the countries oil sector, with the introduction of the Local Content Act, if the government are compelled to implement its provisions the days of bringing foreigners to do the jobs which Nigerians can do is over.
He also added that with the Act in place, the call for the relocation of the operational headquarters of all oil firms to producing states is on sight.
Speaking further, he also accused the government of deliberately refusing to implement an 18 years old law which was pass by the Supreme Court in a judgment, which has led to the country losing not less than $60 billion.
“The Supreme Court decided a case and this case has to do the failure of the government to enforce the Offshore Inland Production Act. For the past 18 years, the Federal Government of Nigeria has failed and deliberately refused to enforce the provision of that law.
“The law states that anytime the price of oil goes beyond $20 per barrel the government must adjust the royalties collected upward. That law was never implemented for 18 years.
“What we have lost as a result of the non-implementation of that law is over $60 billion. I’m sure NUPENG can stand up to the fight to ensure that such laws and similar laws for the production of Nigerian people are enforced through proper monitoring.” He said