By Henry Uche
Following the reintroduction of the Petroleum Industrial Act (2021) to the national assembly by the president for the amendment of certain clauses, some stakeholders have given the president’s action kudos while others knocks him hard.
In a monitored interview (AIT), a Niger Delta activist, Ann-Kio Briggs maintained that the president has no interest in the affairs of the Niger Delta region and the national assembly is working against the people they represent while doing the biddings of the presidency.
“The president rushed and signed the bill on return from United kingdom I wondered why he didn’t sign it from UK, he had done that before from UK. They rush to sign it so that they can do with it whatever and however they want it, because the Senate has told us long time ago that they will do (whether legal or not) whatever the president/ presidency wants them to do against the Niger Delta or against the Nigeria people, am not surprised,”
Briggs frown over the late prosecution and intervention of this administration in every matter that concerns the Niger Delta and the South East. She queried why the right things shouldn’t be done at the right time for the people in Niger Delta and its neighboring regions.
“Why are things different when it comes to the issues of Niger Delta and the southern Nigeria? I am very sure that when it comes to restructuring, the only thing this government is going to do is to take issues to national assembly and changing things as it suits them. They are restructuring this country on the platform of NASS, so the NASS is in connivance with the federal government, cheating the Niger Delta and Nigeria, the government is using the law makers against the people,”
The Niger Delta activist posited that people must come to this realization that the Senate and House of Representatives are working against the the masses they represent by their inability to stand up to the executive and tell them what they (Executive) don’t want to hear.
On Fiscal Federalism, she commended the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike and his Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for signing the law authorizing the state to collect VAT. “I support them fully. We are watching the Judiciary and the legislature to see what they will come up with regarding this, but they must note that they (government) are on trial today, tomorrow they will be judged and history will record the people who destroyed this country because that is where we are heading. Nigeria has just scattered we have to pick up the pieces and lay claim what belongs each of us,” she affirmed.
She added that 2023 general elections would be a mirage and joke if the 1999 constitution remains the same after public outcry for a fresh constitution.
In a similar interview (Channels TV), the Special Advisor to the president on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang, said the request by the president to amend some clauses of the PIA 2021, is a way forward adding that there were no impurities as envisaged in the Act.
Enang added that anybody or group who still feel dissatisfied over the PIA can through the NASS bring it up for amendment before it goes back to the president for assent.
“There were no impurities in the Act. The president decision to amend some clauses is a way forward, it is a proof that he wants to carry every region along, for instance, instead of Two executive Directors, he want it six for equity and fairness.
“The NASS has the right to introduce other amendments outside what the president has requested. So the move was in the interest of all. I urge the NASS to expedite actions to avoid legal issues,” he charged.
The sections requested by the president for amendment are sections 11(2)(g); 34(2)(f) and 34(2)(g).
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