The Governor of Cross River, Senator Professor Ben Ayade, has called on the Senate of the Federal Republic to ensure that proper justice and attention is given to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the floor of the Red Chambers to accommodate both the oil producing communities and communities negatively impacted by activities of oil industry in South South region.
Ayade who stated this when the Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on PIB, Host Communities visitation Group A for Cross River and Akwa Ibom States, Senator Sabo Muhammed Nakudu, his Vice Chairman, Senator Philip T. Aduda and 19 other members of the committee paid him a courtesy call in Calabar recently.
Ayade said that oil spillage impacted negatively on the people of Cross River State, especially our people who depend on fishing as a means of earning a living.”
The Governor requested that the Senate should equally include the vexing issue of the 76 oil Wells taken from Cross River State to Akwa Ibom State by returning same to the state.
Governor Ayade lamented that a situation where between N13 billion to N14 Billion is given to sister states monthly with just a paltry sum of N2 Billion to Cross River State is unfair and painful to the government and people of Cross River State.
He further stated that the nation can only remain one , when there is equity, fairness and justice which is what him as the Governor of the state, seek the Senate and the federal Government to address to ameliorate the pains of the state over the years which has reduced Cross River to the state of abject poverty.
Also, Ayade explained that the PIB bill started when he was a Senator, representing the northern senatorial district of Cross River State, asserting that the bill is a delicate and controversial subject matter which the contents and details remain a subject for further analytical dissection for caution, to ensure that the bill can address the unique concern of the people of Cross River State where oil spillage find their way into the state using the Calabar river as a corridor for discharging oil spillage which becomes disastrous to us, and our people who are dependent on fishing for a source of livelihood who becomes victims of the oil spillage.
The Governor also advised that when making a new law and taxes, the price regulation given to the oil industry should be commensurate to what the state consumes, saying that it is unfair for Cross River to suffer loss from oil wells which is supposed to undergo review after ten years but yet the review has not been done and the federal Government is doing nothing about that review.
Ayade equally mentioned Biase and Odukpani local Government areas in the southern senatorial district which have an inland deposit of hydro carbon raw materials as well as deposits of gas at Ogoja Local Government Area in the Northern senatorial district of the state.
He appealed for speedy passage of the PIB bill reflecting all the concerns raised above for the benefits of Cross Riverians and urged the national Assembly to draw the attention of the executive to the pains of Cross River state, and for the state to be given a fair opportunity and immediate response to her pains to reverse the financial consequence that Cross River suffers from the ceding of Bakassi and loss of our oil Wells.
Governor Ayade frowned at the paltry N2 Billion allocation Cross River State with a population of 4.2 million people and 23 thousand square kilometres of land with a wage bill of civil servants that is far higher than the state allocation, outside the thirty thousand naira monthly payment to over eighteen thousand youths of Cross River state as response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ayade maintained that Governance is meant to focus on the vulnerable people and Cross River state as a vulnerably affected state should be factored into the stabilization account, while also appeaing for a fair treatment to the state and need for the Federal government to grant the state the discretionary right of approval and opportunity to exploit the hydrocarbon resources in the state as this will effect the payment of royalty to the host communities and reduce the level of abject poverty In the state.
The Governor concluded by saying that every consultations done during the PIB bill should be consider and captured including the humanistic aspect that is most critical beyond the business consideration.