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Date Published: 10/18/09



The importance of this Petroleum Reform bill cannot be over-emphasized, given the complexity of social, political and economic problems that have bedeviled Nigeria with regards to petroleum. This makes it imperative for Nigeria's senate to do an unbiased, peace-oriented and honest job on the bill in a manner that will settle the yearnings and aspirations of oil bearing communities today, and in the fore-seeable future.

 It would be of immense help to the Senate and the Nigerian state if consideration is given to some of the concerted views and recommendations that have been made by different commissions and individuals with regards to solving the petroleum debacle posed by long period of neglect to the problems of the Ogonis and the Niger Delta. A good case in view is the Niger Delta Technical Committee's recommendation that a certain dollar amount per barrel of oil proceeds should be paid to oil bearing communities as of right. The Niger Delta Technical Committee's report was well applauded by Nigerians home and abroad in the belief and hope that if implemented, would go a long way in settling the stirred dust of petroleum production in the country. This bill now on Senate floor presents that opportunity and moment that history will reckon with.

The Senate also owes itself the legacy of being able to solve the problem that has more than anything else, threatened the very existence of Nigeria to its core foundation. Not only Nigerians, but indeed, the entire world is watching to see Nigerian Senate redeem the nation from its path of self-destruction started and maintained   by all previous administrations through insensitive and irresponsible policies. This petroleum reform bill is an opportunity for Senate to re-establish Nigeria's integrity and project her ethos of pride in the comity of nations and among modern democracies.


Coincidently, the Petroleum Reform Bill comes to Senate floor at a time that Niger Delta militants have accepted Federal Amnesty. This means a moment of truce for the country. Militants, the Niger Delta people, the Ogoni people, Nigerians and, for that matter, the world are all watching to see how real and for how long this peace will last.  They’re watching to see Nigeria’s senate disentangle Nigeria from the web of generational bad policies and attendant consequences. This is how and why Senate now has a burden to do something transparent in its attempt to proffer lasting solution to the petroleum fiasco of Nigeria. The ball is Senate’s court.

Michael Porp-Kokoh

Minneapolis, USA

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