South-South Emerging Leaders’ Forum (SELF) has expressed optimism that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will make the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under Timipre Sylva more accountable.
Mr. Benjamin Kolowei, the National Coordinator of the forum made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, adding that the development would further boost the federation account.
Kolowei said the forum was proud of Sylva for the feat, adding that it was not by accident that the long-awaited PIB was passed into law a few days to his 57th birthday anniversary.
He called on Nigerians across the world to continue to support Sylva to enable him to transform the petroleum industry for the benefit of Nigerians.
The forum’s national coordinator said that with the passage of the bill, Sylva’s name had come to occupy a chapter in the country’s contemporary history.
He said this was based on the empirical indices of his nationalistic, patriotic, and detribalized values and contributions to national cohesion and development in general.
He said that for over 20 years, the PIB had witnessed a lot of setbacks but was unanimously passed into law by the two chambers of the National Assembly on July 1, barely a week to the minister’s birthday.
He commended the minister’s advocacy role on the bill, saying that the forum was proud of his achievements as a public office holder since he joined politics.
Kolowei said the forum was celebrating the minister because the passage of the PIB into law was one of the nine-point agendas he rolled out to achieve when he took over as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources under the supervision of Timipre Sylva has become a formidable front-driver in the process of diversifying the country’s mono-cultural economy.
“The ministry is exploring and promoting the midstream sector of huge gas production for both local consumption and export purposes.
“As a forum, we are particularly happy because it will nip in the bud the perennial problem of scarcity of petroleum products and long queue for fuel.
“It will also fast track the completion and commissioning of the 17 story headquarters building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
“And commissioning of the Walter Smith Modular Refinery developed with 30 percent equity from the NCDMB are a sterling success story for the Timipre Sylva led Ministry of Petroleum Resources,” he said.
Kolowei said the forum was also celebrating the 57th birthday anniversary of the minister because of the ongoing diversification under his watch through gas, which will create jobs to stimulate the nation’s economy.
He said this was in addition to creating the National Gas Expansion Programme to exploit the country’s comparative advantage in the abundance of natural gas reserves.
He recalled Sylva’s exploits in the wake of militancy in the Niger Delta when as governor of Bayelsa, he traversed the most dreaded militant camps in the region in search of peace and tranquillity.