Temie Giwa: The oil masters (Y! FrontPage)

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Were the representatives aware of how much the delay of the PIB will cost Nigeria? How is it that they have been complicit in deferring the passage of the bill until Nigeria has lost all investment in the oil sector? Was this their goal all along? Who is the enemy of the Nigerian people?

During deliberation on the infamous Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) at the House of Representative of the National Assembly last week, Representative Lawan claimed that the delay in passing the PIB has cost the Nigerian people $30 billion. If he is right, and one is not sure as this country has a rather alarming dearth of fact checkers, then it is a shame that the 6th assembly could fail so miserably and cost us all so much. It is a greater shame that those who lead this country in their greed and shortsightedness have failed to consider the future of their children, country and themselves. Because the children who they have neglected are grown now, unleashing terrors they have never imagined in ways no one is quite equipped to deal with.

The PIB was recommended by a committee set up by the Late President Yar’Adua. The bill was to finally force transparency and accountability to Nigeria’s oil business and force the industry to abide by international best practices and norms. The bill planned to achieve this by increasing taxation of oil exploration and production for a robust fiscal outcome and to remove the stronghold of corruption that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has had on the sector. The bill was lauded as the action that will finally drag Nigerian oil business into the 21st century and deliver better lives for the Nigerian people. And then it didn’t happen. For 3 years, about 4 copies of the bill were in circulation around governance circles. No one knew which of the bill was real or when it would finally pass. Endless amendments expressly meant to make the bill a toothless waste of time and effort were introduced by opaque actors, both indigenous and global. In the end, it seemed the PIB had fallen into the endless mirage of the Nigerian legislative structure and that there it was destined to live.

So what happened here? Were the representatives aware of how much the delay of the PIB will cost Nigeria? How is it that they have been complicit in deferring the passage of the bill until Nigeria has lost all investment in the oil sector? Was this their goal all along? Who is the enemy of the Nigerian people?

In a cable released through Wikileaks, the truth about one of the great illnesses of our oil sector can be found. A representative of Shell Company who was also the top executive of this company boasted to the representative of a foreign government that it, Shell, has infiltrated all government agencies and departments in Nigeria where any decision concerning the future of Nigerian oil could possible be made. The leak was cleverly glossed over by Shell and the Nigerian press and the people forgot to care about their future. The current Minister of Petroleum resources worked for Shell for 15 years before her appointment as Minister of Transportation in 2007 and now she regulates the same industry where her former employer is the main player and where she is currently lobbying, with the President’s blessing, to gain the right to independent regulation and management of all agencies that have a stake in Nigeria’s oil. Shell was proud when they killed that Nigerian jewel, Ken Saro Wiwa, and now with the help of Mrs. Madueke, they are quite ready to kill Nigeria’s oil sector completely.

All I have written is not news. We all know, or at least suspect, that Shell and her other sister International Oil Companies run our oil sector and considering that 80% revenue of the government comes from oil proceeds, it seems that Shell runs our government and have been for as long as Nigeria has had oil. The members of the 7th assembly, while debating the future of Nigerian oil, have cleverly focused on the most divisive and contentious aspect of the bill, the North-South divide on how to share the scraps left behind by IOCs.  They have mostly ignored the Minister of Petroleum Resources’ grab for power. They have cleverly ignored Shell’s boast that it runs our government. They have turned their eyes to the inconsequential thing so that they may hide their shame that they have all sold their soul, their integrity, and their father’s house to Shell and her sisters.

The only way that the current status quo will change is if Nigerians start paying attention, and to learn to ignore the noise of their representative, it’s only an attempt to derail anything good that should come to Nigeria.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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