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BUHARI SOLICITS BETTER COORDINATION BETWEEN FG & STATES IN A REVIEW OF FLOOD SITUATION IN 32 STATES, SIGNS PETROLEUM INDUSTRY BILL

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STATE HOUSE PRESS STATEM NT
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his sympathy to families and other victims of floods following continuing heavy rainfall over the last weeks which has affected thousands of people in 32 states of the country. This has resulted in the loss of homes, farms, life and the disruption of normal life.

The President, who resumed normal activity on Wednesday after a five-day quarantine following international travel expressed concern over the situation as it unfolds, saying “I am constantly monitoring the situation and we will ensure that all possible help is extended to victims.”

President Buhari however called for better coordination between the Federal authorities including the National Emergency Management Authority and state governments to develop a culture of respect for weather forecasts, and to act upon early warnings to avert the yearly occurrence of disasters.

The President took notice of the fact that some states took the notices shared at different times of flood warnings, citing specific territories and communities named by NEMA but which sadly were not only unheeded but the letters remain unacknowledged until this day.

He however commended the few states that activated their response mechanisms following the warnings and did well thereby to avert the consequent unnecessary damage and losses.

In order to carry all the states along in the administration’s determination to put an enduring system for forecasting of floods and other natural disasters through the use of technology and improved coordination, the President has approved the convention of workshop by NEMA in the coming weeks that will bring all states’ emergency response agencies to the table.

Having taken stock of the situation throughout the country, the President has also given assurances that all possible support will be extended to the victims in line with shared responsibility between the two tiers of government.
Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
August 18, 2021.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021 into law. In statement issued by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari assented to the bill on Monday in his determination to fulfill his constitutional duty.

The passage of the PIB has proved to be a real nightmare for successive administrations since the need for the bill was first mooted by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

In 2018, after the national assembly passed a harmonised version of the bill — the petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB), President Muhammadu Buhari refused assent due to “legal and constitutional reasons”.

The PIB contains 5 chapters, including governance and institutions, administration, host communities’ development, petroleum industry fiscal framework and miscellaneous provisions in 319 clauses and 8 schedules.

Adesina also noted that Buhari is working from home in line with the five days’ quarantine as required by the presidential steering committee on COVID-19 after returning from London on August 13.

”The ceremonial part of the new legislation was done Wednesday, after the days of mandatory isolation would have been fulfilled,” the statement reads.

The Petroleum Industry Act provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.

The senate had passed the bill on July 15, 2021, while the house of representatives did the same on July 16, thus ending a long wait since early 2000s. On July 1, the senate and the house of representatives had recommended 3% and 5% percent respectively to host communities.

This, however, generated reactions from stakeholders in the oil industry and leaders in the Niger-Delta region. Several stakeholders including Seriake Dickson, senator representing Bayelsa west; Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa state; Edwin Clark, an Ijaw national leader, have argued that three percent is unacceptable

At the public hearing on the bill, representatives of the host communities had demanded that they be allocated 10 percent on the grounds that three percentage is not enough to improve the standard of living of their people.

Buhari assented to Petroleum Industry Bill after it was voted through by both chambers of the National Assembly. Buhari’s government believes that the reforms will attract a greater share of global capital allocated to fossil fuel projects.

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