Ownership of Nigeria’s Oil Blocks – :::… The Tide News Online :::…


Before Nigerian public affairs managers begin to implement policies to remove fuel subsidies and other related issues, there is a need to reconsider the issue of ownership of Nigerian oil blocks. It is an open secret that Nigeria’s oil licensing and mining leases have always been surrounded by secret deals, a high level of corruption and gangster patronage. The former military rulers established a regime of secrecy in the allocation of oil licenses, which continued after 1999, without any effort to end the unfair advantage reserved for the few.
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) sounded the alarm a long time ago on “the lack of transparency in the acquisition and allocation of petroleum exploration licenses, mining leases, financing, inappropriate disclosures of oil and gas production figures that have characterized Nigeria’s revenues. extractive sector ”. Despite the changes and some repositionings that have been described as mere facades, the oil and gas industry is not only in a systemic rot, but “nobody knows who owns what”.
From the vine, there had been rumors that many of the allocated oil blocks ended up being serviced, resulting in economic disservice to the nation. Despite the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), a model established by the regime of the late General Sani Abacha (1993-1998) continues to work to this day. This model has to do with our heads of state keeping the portfolio of the Minister of Oil, whereby the oil and gas sector of the economy sinks into deeper waters where no one can raise problems.
The oil and gas industry generates over 70 percent of all federal government revenue and 90 percent of Nigeria’s external revenue. The fact that such a strategic and sensitive industry is associated with inexplicable secrets, characterized by exclusive monopolies, makes the policy of removing subsidies unacceptable to many Nigerians. The Revenue Watch Institute (RWI), a global body, had given Nigeria a very low rating in administering its oil and gas sector. In a study titled Resource Governance Index, RWI rated the governance of Nigeria’s extractive industries as very weak.
It is true to say that the situation in the oil and gas industry started a long time ago, but that is no reason for the troublesome situation to continue unchecked; it is also not true that the PIA succeeded in cleaning up this sector. So far, aside from some outcry and denial, no one has refuted a claim made long ago by Senator Ita Enang that “the Nordics owned 83% of all the oil blocks in the country.”
In a situation where there are rent collectors, buccaneers and covert petroleum licensing, can there be such transparency and accountability to justify the question of removing subsidies? Especially where such a removal of subsidies would put the masses at a disadvantage and agony, shouldn’t Nigerians be asking what is going on in the oil sector?
To solve the problem of declining income, one should not borrow more, but align with public accountability by controlling financial leakage and overspending. Transparency and accountability would include the fight against fuel subsidy fraud, of which importing fuel is an old problem!
What happened to so-called 2.4 trillion naira stolen oil money many years ago from a fuel subsidy? Isn’t it alleged that someone collected $ 620,000 in bribes to prevent an oil company from being charged with subsidy scam many years ago? Nigerians are obviously not comfortable with the secrecy and exclusivity associated with the oil business, especially when the blessing of oil and gas becomes a curse on the masses. The late Bola Ige, at a conference organized by the Ibadan Chamber of Commerce, was quoted by TELL magazine (April 19, 1999, page 18): is not taken, we will face the wrath of God, for it is a sin to continue to plunder the resources of the people. ”
It is quite sad that despite the enormous resources coming from this area, the Niger Delta remains marginalized, coupled with the fact that the NDDC, as an interventionist agency, is remotely controlled by external power blocs.
Nigeria’s business managers should appreciate that the masses have made commendable sacrifices, at least, in allowing peace to reign even when they should protest. The issue of cuts and controls in public spending must be taken seriously and followed by transparency and accountability, so that the confidence of the masses can be restored. Every country usually goes through difficult times, calling for exemplary leadership where the masses would not be bamboozled as if they were all fools.
Security is a crucial issue in governance which can be facilitated by exemplary and fair leadership, rather than a situation where the political economy of a nation is characterized by secrecy and exclusivity. The oil and gas industry certainly shows such evidence, when it comes to oil block allocations. How can there be security where, in the midst of abject poverty among the majority, there is a frenzied and provocative display of wealth by a few? A situation where wealth is not associated with productivity and patriotism, the poor masses would obviously feel bitter. Is poverty the result of laziness?
The people of the Niger Delta region, which produces most of the resources that support the Nigerian economy, deserve a better deal than they currently have. Despite the derivation premium of 13% and the derisory provision of the PIA, the terms of attribution or attribution of petroleum licenses must be corrected. Likewise, those who represent the Niger Delta region in the National Assembly should be seen as being on the side of their constituents rather than being used as a means to undermine the interests of the region.

By: Bright Amirize
Dr Amirize is a retired senior lecturer at Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

Our mistake

Dear reader, much of this article was mistakenly posted last Monday in the Write Angle column above, with an unrelated citation. We sincerely regret the embarrassment the error may have caused to the writer, who is a prolific contributor, and to you.
Deputy Editor-in-Chief (Daily)


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