The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has asked northern members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to halt the process of passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
CNG said this was necessary to save the Northern economy which the group claimed the PIB was designed to destroy.
The group said the PIB would have a devastating effect on the economy of the North because its people would be compelled to buy fuel at “disabling inflated prices.”
The statement was made by the group's spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman.
Suleiman said, “The CNG, having been convinced that the Bill, if passed and implemented would be the final nail that will permanently seal the fate of the North economically and socially, hereby resolves to:
"Categorically declare the continuation of the process that may lead to the passage of the PIB as another clandestine move to further weaken the northern economy and therefore unacceptable.
“Demand the immediate halt of the process for the PIB in its present construction as it would invariably impact negatively on the livelihood of northern communities especially those of the far northeast and northwest who would be forced to buy fuel at a disabling inflated price.”
Also according to the group, lawmakers of northern extraction in the National Assembly will be held accountable should the region face any hardship as a direct implication of the passage of the bill.
It said, “Warn all Northern representatives in the National Assembly that they will be held responsible for the mass sufferings that the PIB will force on northerners if they allow it to pass.
“To demand a comprehensive investigation into the alleged underhanded deals between the private operator of the refinery in Lagos and some members of the National Assembly to influence the success of the Bill which would hand the total monopoly of production, transportation, marketing and more dangerously, pricing of petroleum products.
“To invite the attention of all segments of northern leadership and the credible section of northern elders and all civil society organisations in the North to rise to defend the people of the region by rejecting the PIB.
“Declare that the CNG will not hesitate to go to any length to challenge the passage of the Bill including taking legal action.”
Meanwhile, the bill has been largely condemned by Southerners, who feel short-changed by its provisions for the region despite being the oil-rich area and the part ravaged by the attendant environmental challenges.
For instance, Southern Governors and Niger Delta groups have condemned the bill as the Senate gave host communities only three percent equity holding in Host Communities Trust Fund as against the 10 percent demanded by the people of the oil-rich areas.
The House of Representatives, on its part, passed the bill, granting host communities five percent equity stake in the Host Communities Trust Fund, as against the demand for 10 per cent by host communities.
Another controversial area passed was the fund exploration of frontier basins, which the Senate left at 30 percent, while stakeholders in the Niger Delta had demanded that it should be reduced to 10 percent.
Governors of the southern states of Nigeria have rejected that 30 per cent of the profit from oil revenue by the proposed Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) should be dedicated to oil exploration efforts in the oil basins, and other major sections of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The NNPC has oil exploration activities in the Chad basin in Borno state, Niger, Sokoto, Benue Trough and other inland basins in Nigeria, which means the 30 percent will benefit the North.