Glimmer of hope came the way of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as it relates to the host communities in a legislation called Host Community Bill (HCB).
This is because the senate committee chairman on Petroleum Industry Bill, Kabiru Marafa, said in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, that the senate would endeavour to pass the Bill before its long vacation.
He said the senate attached great importance to the passage of the Host Communities Bill, adding that the initiative to segment the bill was to ease the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
The PIB has lasted over 15 years in the National Assembly until it was broken into three different bills including the one for governance of the industry, the one for financing, and one for host communities.
The senator said: “On the assumption of office, the eight National Assembly took it upon itself to break the jinx and pass the Petroleum Industry Bill once and for all”.
Reacting, the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, stated that the passage of the Host Communities Bill would give oil producing communities a sense of belonging.
Speaking at the Government House Port Harcourt during a courtesy visit by the senate committee, Wike said: “This is an important aspect of the Petroleum Industry Bill as it concerns the host communities. The host communities will become a component part of the entire process. The oil producing communities are bedevilled by all kinds of environmental challenges . The passage of the host communities bill will give them a sense of belonging “.
Governor Wike added that the passage of the bill would also enhance the security of petroleum pipelines because of the involvement of the Host Communities in the production process.
According to the governor, setting aside a certain percentage of funds for the development of host communities was vital.
He urged the committee to visit all slated communities for the necessary interaction as regards their peculiar needs.