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How Petroleum Industry Act Affects Oil Communities – Don

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How Petroleum Industry Act Affects Oil Communities - Don
Dr. Hilary Owamah

A university teacher, Dr Hilary Owamah, has shed light on the key provisions of the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) passed into law in August, 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering spoke at a one-day sensitization workshop organized by the Delta State Ministry of Oil and Gas, at the Prof. Chike Edozien Secretariat on August 9, 2022.

Speaking on the theme “The PIA – How Best can the Host Community Manage it for Maximum Benefit?” Owamah, who is currently the Director of Academic Planning at the Delta State University, Abraka and a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, said that the aim of the PIA was to create an environment more conducive for growth of the oil and gas sector and to address the legitimate grievances of communities most impacted by extractive industries. He noted that the relationship between host communities (HC) and oil companies, over the years, has not been cordial.

Owamah did inform the participants, which comprised mainly representatives of oil companies and their host communities in Delta State that the hostilities may have contributed to the massive theft of crude oil, vandalization of pipelines and the incessant shutdown of major oil fields.

According to the guest speaker, “the problem could have been the reason the Nigerian government is unable to meet its OPEC crude oil production quota of about 1.8 million barrels per day in recent times”.

Dr Owamah highlighted some of the earlier initiatives undertaken by government to address the issue such as the setting up of the Derivation Fund – funded with 13% of oil revenue from the Federation Account and paid to oil-producing states, creation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 2000–funded with NDDC Levy of 3% of total annual budget of oil-producing companies, creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in 2008, with the total budget allocation of about N584.6 billion between 2008 and 2022 and the Amnesty Programme to Niger Delta Militants in 2009.

He noted that it was the inability of these initiatives to address the frosty relationship between host communities and petroleum companies that led to the promulgation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which has now introduced the requirement for specified petroleum industry operators to establish a Host Communities Development Trust Fund (HCDTF).

Owamah noted that the PIA overhauls the regulation and governance of the oil and gas industry by providing for two regulatory agencies, which are the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA) responsible for the regulation of their respective sectors in the petroleum operations, and can sue and be sued in their own name.

On the key provisions of the PIA, Owamah said that regrettably, the PIA provides that 30% of the profits of the NNPC Ltd will be used to finance exploration in other basins in the country, called the “Frontier Exploration Fund”.

Another provision of the PIA which aims to address the frosty relationship between oil companies and host communities is the creation of the Host Community Development Trust Fund (HCDTF), whose purpose will be to foster sustainable prosperity, provide direct social and economic benefits from petroleum to host communities, and enhance peaceful and harmonious coexistence between licensees or lessees and host communities.

According to Owamah, the HCDTF is a fund to be set up for the benefit of communities situated in or appurtenant to the area of operation of petroleum companies or operators to cater to the infrastructural development and economic empowerment of host communities.

The guest speaker also clearly stated that in incorporating the HCDTF, the operator would consult with the host communities to appoint a board of trustees and apply to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for registration of the HCDT.

In his words, “the management of the HCDTF is the responsibility of the board of trustees, management committee, and the advisory committee”

Owamah told the settlors and HC representatives present that while the operations of the HCDTF would be governed by the provisions of the PIA, the Companies and Allied Matters Act, regulations issued by the regulators and the constitution of the HCDTF, the operator is required to oversee the activities of the board of trustees and committees of the HCDTF, the funds and expenditures of the HCDTF.

READ ALSO: Ministry Inaugurates Technical Committee On Petroleum Act

Owamah made the audience to know that for upstream operations, the HCDTF is to be funded with 3% of the operator’s annual operating expenditure of the preceding year. He also mentioned other sources of fund for the HCDTF as donations, grants or honoraria, and any profit and interest accruing on reserve funds of the HCDT.

“Funds made available to the HCDT are to be used exclusively for the development of the host communities in accordance with the Host Community Development Plan (HCDP) prepared by the operator and approved by the NUPRC (the Commission) or the Authority as the case may be”.

Owamah said that in preparing the HCDP, the operator is required to conduct needs assessments in the host communities and determine the effect of the petroleum operations, the strategy to be adopted and the projects to undertake to meet the communities’ needs.

According to Owamah, the HCDT funds are to be utilised as follows: 75% to be allocated to execution of projects, 20% to be reserved for investment, and no more than 5% is to be allocated for the administrative cost of running the HCDT.

Funds spent on projects are to be accounted for by the operator and the board of trustees of the HCDT. The don further elucidated that the PIA provides that where there is sabotage or vandalism to petroleum installations or designated facilities within a host community, that community shall forfeit, to the extent of the cost of the repairs, its entitlement under the HCDTF as such creates a sense of responsibility for the safety of petroleum installation and facilities within host communities. The provisions for environmental degradation fund and others were also mentioned by the guest speaker. The event was chaired by the Honourable Commissioner of the Delta State Ministry of Oil and Gas, Prince Emmanuel Amgbaduba with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Gladys Aghogho Puegeren in attendance.

 

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BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate

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BREAKING: APC Disagrees With Lawan , To Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate

Less than 24 hours after Senate President Ahmed Lawan declared that he would not appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court in Damaturu, the state capital, on Wednesday on the Yobe North senatorial seat matter, his All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided otherwise..

The APC in the state is determined to go on appeal over the matter.

The lower court had in its verdict, not only affirmed Bashir Machina as the party’s candidate for next year’s election, but ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise him as such, a position the nation’s number three man said he would not appeal against.

However, in another turn of events, Mohammed Gadaka, Chairman of the APC in the state, arguing that the party had taken it as a duty to protect the Senate President, indicated party’s intention to proceed to the appellate court.

READ  ALSO: I Won’t Appeal Against Judgment Declaring Machina Senatorial Candidate – Lawan

“We are aware of the Wednesday, September 28, 2022, ruling of the Federal High Court in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, with respect to the forthcoming Yobe north Senatorial District election. However, we respectfully reject the decision of the President of the Senate, His Excellency Senator Ahmad Lawan, accepting the judgment of the court which disqualified his candidature and participation in the election.

“In exercise of our legal rights, the Yobe State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decided to appeal the Federal High Court ruling in the interest of Yobe State, Nigeria and good governance. We have a duty to protect and sustain Senator Ahmed Lawan’s twenty-three years exemplary sojourn as a lawmaker and his impeccable record of leadership and patriotism – and commitment to making Nigeria work.”

 

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Advocacy For Alleged Witches Petitions NHRC Over Witchcraft Markets Event

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Advocacy For Alleged Witches Petitions NHRC Over Witchcraft Markets Event

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches has written a petition to the Cross River State chapter of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over a planned event to rescue families from witchcraft.

The petition titled “Petition: Ukpabio ‘s Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets Event” was signed by Dr.Leo Igwe.

The petition reads:
“I am writing on behalf of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an organization that campaigns to end witch persecution in Nigeria to lodge a complain about a proposed event, Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets, of Evangelist Helen Ukpabio and her Liberty Gospel Church. The event will be held on October 5 to 9 2022 in Calabar. As explained in this article, the event has some criminal intent and could fuel human rights abuses in Cross River state. Witchcraft accusation is a crime under the law. So it is important to restrain any individual or group, or stop any activity with the intent to accuse, or impute witchcraft as this proposed program by Ms Ukpabio and her church has indicated.

“As you may be aware, cases of witch persecution, attack and killings in Cross River have been linked to the activities of Ms Ukpabio and her church, and other witch hunters who openly advertise, stage and hold programs where they make witchcraft imputations (in this case in families), identify witches and exorcise witchcraft. Programs like this event on Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets valorize witchcraft beliefs, and incite people to suspect, maltreat, attack or kill family members in the name of witchcraft.

READ ALSO: Ukpabio’s Rescuing Families From Witchcraft Markets

“At a time when Cross River state is witnessing killings and attacks linked to witchcraft beliefs, it is necessary to take measures to prevent witchcraft accusations, witch identifications and persecutions. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges you to use your good office to restrain Ukpabio and her church from going ahead with this witch hunting event. ”

 

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Rules On Leadership Tussle In Edo PDP

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Rejects Bid To Enforce Zoning Policy In PDP

The leadership tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State chapter might have ended , with the dismissal of an appeal instituted at the Apex Court by Dan Orbhi-led faction.

The apex vourt in a judgment by Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim held that the issue of leadership by political parties is an internal affair and as such, the courts have no jurisdiction.

In the appeal marked SC/CV/979/2022, filed by Hon Monday Iyere Osagie, the Supreme Court said that the appeal lacked merit because it was not justiciable.

Justice Agim, who delivered the unanimous judgment, asked political parties to always adhere strictly to their guidelines, rules and regulations in order to promote genuine democracy.

READ ALSO: Why Obaseki May Lead Us Out Of PDP – Edo Deputy Governor

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and a chieftain of PDP, Chief Dan Orbhi have been at each other’s throat over who controls the party in the state.

Governor Obaseki formerly of the All Progressives Congress, APC, decamped to the PDP, stood for the last governorship election on the party’s platform and won.

He later opted to control the machinery of the party.

 

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