If the eyes are the windows through which we see the world, the television has been described as the instrument with which the world can speak to the world. It is a box a tube, a container of dreams and wonders. And so, to speak and analyse on an issue of great significance to Nigeria, that is, the Petroleum Industry Bill PIB, experts and practitioners gathered together at a prime television house, Channels in a programme called The Core to x-ray the dynamics, frustrations and vicissitudes surrounding the PIB. They were the Rev David Ugolor, ANEEJ executive director, Mr. Israel Are, an energy Consultant, Waziri Adio, NEITI executive secretary and Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, Chairman Ad-hoc Committee on the PIB at the Nigerian Parliament.
A few weeks before this television discussion, on March 1, 2018 the Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ had undertaken a workshop to discuss the PIB with CSOs and host communities at the Aldgate Congress Hotel in Port Harcourt. There were 53 participants in attendance including Dr Michael Uzoigwe (Programme Manager, FOSTER), Mr. Kolawole Banwo (CISLAC Representative), Barr. Kingsley Ogam-Okafor (Representative of Spaces for Change) and Dr. Godwin Ojo and Dr Ewere Anthony as resource persons.
The thrust of that programmes was to provide room for ANEEJ, FOSTER and other partners to highlight the progress made so far in advocacy and the current state of affairs with regard to the Bill. The passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill by the National Assembly was spotlighted as a major progress and the need to intensify engagement and advocacy for the passage of the two other Bills derived from the erstwhile PIB was stated as the underlying purpose of the dialogue. Its objectives included the following:
- Build consensus amongst FOSTER II partners working on the PIB
- Generate a gap analysis of the PIB
- Collate and harmonize diverse views on the PIB for purposes of interface with the National Assembly and other stakeholders at the National and grassroots level.
That ANEEJ dialogue like the Channels TV programme, The Core, concentrated on the Petroleum Host Community Development Bill (the Host Community Bill) and the Petroleum Industry Governance and Institutional Framework Bill (the Fiscal Framework Bill). Presentations on both bills were made by resource persons, and on the backdrop of this, participants took time to consider salient provisions of the Bills in groups and made presentations to the plenary on their respective positions on the provisions of the Bills.
ANEEJ position at that Port Harcourt meet was that despite the setbacks the bill has suffered since its inception in 2008, considerable progress has now been made with the fragmentation of the original PIB into the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Framework Bill (PIFFB), the Petroleum Industry Governance and Institutional Framework Bill (PIGB) and the Petroleum Host Community Development Bill (PHCDB); and the subsequent passing of the PIGB by both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Take a listen to this robust and very engaging discussion.