……..Says FG’s failure to enforce Offshore Inland Production Act cost the Nigeria over $60 billion dollars
Foremost constitutional lawyer and rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has alleged that the failure of the federal government to enforce Nigeria’s Offshore Inland Production Act in the last 18 years has cost the country over $60 billion dollars.
Falana also flayed President Muhammadu Buhari’s vetoing of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill passed by the National Assembly and subsequently transmitted to him for assent.
He accused the president of pandering to the whims and caprices of International Oil Companies, IOCs, whom he said were against the proposed law.
Speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, in Abuja where he presented a lead paper, Falana bemoaned government’s lack of support for the bill. He also alleged that the federal government had not properly implemented most laws aimed at making meaningful impacts on the lives of indigenous oil workers in particular and Nigerians as a whole.
“Let me take you to the case of failure of government to enforce the Offshore Inland Production Act for the past 18 years. The Federal Government of Nigeria failed and deliberately refused to enforce the provisions of that law. What does that law say? That laws provides that any time the price of oil goes beyond $20 per barrel, the government must adjust the royalties collected upward.
“That law was never implemented for 18 years and what we have lost through the non implementation of that law is over $16 billion,”insisted.
The lawyer told both NUPENG and PENGASSAN to:”Check out that that law and similar laws that protect the interest of Nigerian people are enforced through proper monitoring.”
While noting that there were existing laws in the oil and gas industry to change the fortunes of Nigeria and its people,Mr Falana regretted that they have not been enforced to the latter.
He tasked the oil workers on what to do:”The law has made copious provisions for the protection of Nigerian workers particularly the oil gas workers.
“The days of bringing the so called expatriates to come and attend to those functions that Nigerians can perform against us are over.
“NUPENG and PENGASIN must ensure that everybody working in the Nigerian oil and gas industry is a Nigerian unless where the specialties in the required areas are not available.
He, however, expressed delight that the “Presidential Order 5 of 2018 prohibited the Minister of Interior from giving visas for any foreign person to come to Nigeria to carry out jobs that Nigerians can perform. That means you have to be vigilant because vigilance is the price of liberty.”
“Foreign workers called expatriates must not be allowed to remain in the oil and gas industry unless the services they intend to render cannot be performed by Nigerians,”he charged.
“NUPENG and PENGASSAN must be very vigilant because jobs that can be performed by Nigerians are being ferried out and the IOCs have 70 percent of the departments in the oil and gas industry outside Nigeria.”