Nigerian leader signs Petroleum Industry Bill into law

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, has signed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law after five decades of operating an obsolete…

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, has signed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law after five decades of operating an obsolete Petroleum law.Buhari, who is currently observing the mandatory isolation after returning from the UK where he had a medical checkup, assented to the Bill on Monday in Abuja despite the controversial sections and criticisms that have trailed the bill.

The Petroleum Industry Bill, which was approved by the country’s National Assembly in July, provides for legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, development of host communities, and related matters.

Reacting to the signing of the PIB, some Nigerian energy and financial experts said that it was better to have a defective petroleum law that would be amended later than to have no law at all.

They, however, warned that the new petroleum law might trigger protests and disruption of oil production activities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, since the new law was not fair to the region.

According to local media reports on Tuesday, the new law provides that only 3 percent share of the revenues accruing from oil operations in the region will go to the oil producing communities, while 30 percent revenue allocation was provided for the development of frontier inland basins that are mainly in the North of the country.

Meanwhile, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised President Buhari to immediately forward to the National Assembly an amendment bill to the new Petroleum Industry Act.

Reacting to the signing of the PIB into law by President Buhari, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said on Monday in Abuja that the proposed amendment bill to the National Assembly should reflect the true wishes and aspirations of every segment of the Nigerian society.

He expressed surprise that President Buhari ignored the huge outcry by majority of disenchanted Nigerians and signed the bill into law as passed by the National Assembly.

According to the opposition party, the signing of the law in spite of widespread public rejection amounted to “endorsement of imposition, lack of respect for the people and the tenets of democracy as a system of government”.

He added that signing the bill into law was not in the interest of oil producing communities, particularly in the face of the challenges they faced as a result of oil exploration.

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