Nigeria to revisit oil dichotomy bill

Jan 09, 2003 01:00 AM

After a six-hour meeting with leaders of the Niger Delta area in Abuja, President Olusegun Obasanjo, softened his opposition to the Onshore/Offshore Oil Dichotomy Abrogation Bill as passed by the National Assembly. He agreed to revisit the bill with a view to amicably resolving the problems created by his refusal to assent to the bill.
Leader of the 32-man delegation from the Niger Delta to the meeting, Chief Edwin Clark confirmed the outcome of the meeting, saying: "We are grateful to Mr President for understanding our problems and willingness to solve them. He has assured us that he would revisit signing the bill."

"Our presentation is that he should sign the bill as it is, because continental shelf of the country is 200 nautical miles. This is where oil operation takes place and not the contiguous zone," he said.
"We cited the Nigerian law made by him (President Olusegun Obasanjo) in 1978 on the Exclusive Economic Zone which made it clear that 200 nautical miles is part of Nigeria andthat any offence committed on the high sea within this zone will be tried in Nigeria. And if that is the case, the Federal Government should pay 13 % to the states."

Chief Edwin Clark said they were happy at the outcome of the meeting "and it is our belief that the issues involved would be resolved amicably." He also said in the meeting dismissed the problems arising from oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
"We discussed environmental problems such as the oil spillage, change of vegetation and difficulties in fishing and farming. He agreed that something would be done immediately by involving oil companies, South-South people and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)," he said. The meeting was a continuation of discussion initiated by the President to resolve the impasse triggered by his refusal to sign the bill.

Source: Vanguard
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