PIA: House Committee On Host Communities Chairman,  Dum Dekor Harps On Need To Repeal Section 257

The Chairman, House Committee on Host Communities at the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dumnamene Robinson Dekor has promised to work with his colleagues with a view to expunging section 257 (2) from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Addressing concerns surrounding the legislation, Rt Hon. Dekor emphasized the ongoing scrutiny of gray areas within the PIA, particularly the clause mandating communities to safeguard pipelines or risk losing their funds.

During the presentation of a comprehensive report delineating challenges, achievements, and prospective measures regarding Oil Companies Transit Communities Development Trusts (HCDTs) on Thursday, Rt Hon. Dekor underscored the imperative of prioritizing the welfare of host communities. He stressed that Nigeria’s aspiration for progress hinges significantly on the oil and gas sector, which constitutes a substantial portion of government revenue and export earnings.

Highlighting the historical disparity in resource exploitation benefits, Rt Hon. Dekor noted deficiencies and delays in implementing the PIA’s provisions pertaining to the establishment of HCDTs, particularly among certain corporations.

Drawing from his extensive legislative and administrative experience, Rt Hon Dekor revealed the committee’s strategic blueprint to steer its agenda throughout the 10th National Assembly term, spanning from 2023 to 2027.

Echoing these sentiments, Executive Director of S4C, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, emphasized the report’s scrutiny of indigenous and international petroleum companies’ adherence to statutory obligations in delivering development to oil-producing regions under the HCDT framework.

In assessing the transition from Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) to HCDT, the report delineated both positive strides and persistent challenges, including contentious issues such as litigation and the lack of transparency in nominating community representatives for HCDT governance bodies.

Emphasizing the urgency of reform, stakeholders, including the King of Ekpetiama Kingdom in Bayelsa, Bubaraye Dakolo, and Ford Foundation-funded Spaces for Change, they advocated for the repeal of Section 257(2) of the PIA.

This provision, they argued, unfairly burdens host communities with the responsibility of securing oil and gas installations, a duty inadequately fulfilled by security agencies and contractors.

Concurring with these sentiments, Hart Cyril, representing Bonny/Degema Federal Constituency, emphasized the need for more effective enforcement mechanisms within the PIA to hold oil firms accountable for their obligations to host communities.

The controversial Section 257, which outlines conditions for host communities’ financial entitlements and liability for damage, underscores the imperative of revisiting legislative frameworks to ensure equitable resource management and community development.

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