by crossriverwatch admin
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, have warned the federal Government not to use a draconian method to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, saying the unions will resist such attempt.
President of PENGASSAN Comrade Babatunde Ogun who gave the warning at the Oil Workers Workshop on Petroleum Industry Bill organized by PENGASSAN and NUPENG in Azare Hotel, Calabar, Cross River State, Tuesday, said that the Bill as it stands has some challenges that should be sorted out before its passage.
Ogun said that part of the reasons for the Calabar workshop was for members of the two unions and stakeholders in the Oil and Gas Industry who add value to government affairs to look at the Bill critically and proffer solutions on the best way to go about its’ passage.
He said, “Every Nigerian solidly believes that there is need for change, currently as we speak, we are engaging every stakeholder. The Bill today as it is has some challenges that we believe that as unions and stakeholders in the Oil and Gas who need to add value to the government affairs, should look at critically.
“We must not use draconian law to pass the Bill, that is why the unions are saying, let us engage government, bring all stakeholders to look at it and see what happens internationally. As oil and gas workers, we strongly believe that Nigerians must not be short changed and that there should be conducive environment for the investors,” he said.
Ogun said that the workshop would look to see how powers were given to either the President or the Minister of Petroleum and find out whether the powers were over bearing, adding that they will ensure that whatever happens in the oil and gas industry must be transparent and not tend to favour some individuals.
According to him the President should not wield much power on oil and gas when there is a Minister of Petroleum.
Also speaking at the occasion, the facilitator of the workshop and research fellow with Center for Public Policy, Dr. Olufemi Olarenwaju said that the importance of the PIB should not be under estimated and that the workshop seeks to look at the contents of the bill and see where the challenges lie so as to proffer solutions.
Declaring the workshop open, the Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham, said that the new PIB as recently approved by the Federal Government Executive Council, represented an important document in the management and operation of the Nigeria oil and gas industry.
Cobham said, “The draft bill which was harmonized from different versions of the bill by the special PIB taskforce presents a significant window of opportunity to further redress decades of mismanagement of the oil and gas sector which has impoverished Nigerians rather than being a blessing.”
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