The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has demanded a cut down of the discretionary powers of the president and the overarching powers of the minister of petroleum as provided in the draft Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which was open to Civil society and other groups to scruitinize at a public hearing in Abuja.

ERA/FoEN also recommended the provision of point of extraction metering system for all petroleum products produced in the country. ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Godwin Ojo who availed newsmen copies of memorandum submitted by the organisation at the public hearing said that the status quo which provides metering only at the point of export short-changes the country and therefore proposed metering system at the point of extraction to detect the areas of leakage in the system to provide for increased revenue, as well as assisting regulators to determine the volume of oil Nigeria actually pumps.

ERA/FoEN demanded among others that Section of the draft bill be amended by deleting the phrase “is vested in the government of the federation’ at the end of the paragraph and instead to read: is vested in the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
ERA is also of the opinion that the PIB should do away with the discretionary powers of the president and cut down the overarching powers of the Minister of Petroleum. In the case of the president ERA/FoEN said the provisions which grants him the powers to grant licences and leases in special circumstances has been abused in recent history and as such should be expunged to allow for Section 190 which provides award of blocks by open, transparent and open bidding processes.
On the minister of petroleum, ERA/FoEN said it believes the PIB gives excessive and often unchecked powers to the minister, a situation that has necessitated the referral of the bill as “Minister’s PIB” in some quarters.

The minister is saddled with the responsibility of nominating appointees for different agencies of the petroleum sector to the president.
This, it said, defeats key objectives of the bill such as providing level playing ground for all actors, among others. It said section 6 grants the minister what it termed ‘superhuman powers” but spectacularly fails to provide appropriate checks.
ERA/FoEN suggested that section 6 of the bill be properly scruitinized and section 6 (k) be expunged in entirety.

Click this link to download the full document presented during the Public Hearing on PIB in Abuja.

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ERA has recently received information that a group calling itself the "Niger Delta Coalition in the Diaspora" is still engaging itself in activities and communications giving the impression that it is linked with Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

This group issues out communications using ERA's headquarter address and mail box. We have never had any ties with this group and any views, comments or opinions expressed by them is not endorsed or authorized by any member of management or staff of ERA.

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