The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: Revisit the Oil Law and the Death Penalty Proposal

editorial

Oil in Liberia would either become a curse or a blessing depending on the formulation of strong laws and the implementation of appropriate programs that would have direct and indirect impact on the nation and the people.

Liberians Are Disappointed with the government they elected twice, and moreover, they are angry with their current living condition that does not suggest it would get better anytime soon.

The Discovery Of oil provides a glimpse of hope for the people that the future could be better; they believe not under the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. A proposed oil law has been discussed and the views of the Liberian people were sought. There were speeches and recommendations from experts, suggesting how to proceed with the new proposed petroleum law.

Before This Time, members of the National Legislature had traveled around the country to gather the views of the people on the formulation of the new petroleum law. The lawmakers returned to Monrovia and commenced discussion on the draft petroleum law.

At The End of the national consultation on the review of the new draft Petroleum Law, the Liberian people advanced several overtures to the National Legislature. According to the draft document, Liberians have recommended death penalty or life imprisonment for individuals found guilty of diverting oil revenues to their personal use. They also recommended that huge compensation be allotted or made available to victims in case of environmental pollution and/or degradation. The Liberian people raised serious concern over safety issues, specifically regarding health and environment hazard.

Interestingly, They Proposed that the moratorium placed on the remaining oil blocks should be enforced until critical issues surrounding the sector are resolved satisfactorily. This proposal comes amid reports that the remaining oil blocks are being negotiated by an official of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) without regard to the moratorium that was placed by President Sirleaf.

The Document, Which reflected the views of citizens from the 15 political sub-divisions of the country, accentuated the need to maintain the current moratorium placed by the government on certain oil blocks, including oil blocks LB1-5. Liberians want government to suspend all negotiations on oil blocks LB-6 and LB-7 with the Chinese company Tong Tai to ensure that proper negotiations and measures are finalized before awarding the blocks. These suggestions are reasonably comprehensible especially so when Liberians believe that oil can become a blessing when the proceeds are used to develop the country's infrastructures and improve the living condition of the people.

However, We Differ with the overture suggesting death penalty for individuals who will divert oil money into their personal use.

We Think That this proposal is radically malicious and it defeats international norms and protocols to which our country is signatory. We understand that the people are frustrated about the government's lack of political will to prosecute officials that have allegedly been indicted by audits of the General Auditing Commission (GAC). We know that Madam Sirleaf cannot and will not prosecute her family members, including her buddies, some of whom she has known for more than 25-30 years.

We Call On the National Legislature to be cognizance of the suggestions made by the Liberian people. We believe that the moratorium should remain in place and those negotiations on oil blocks should be done gradually and limited to two blocks.

This Administration should not be allowed to give all the oil blocks out because to do so would be undermining the future of our country.

Revisit The Oil Law And The Death Penalty Proposal

Oil in Liberia would either become a curse or a blessing depending on the formulation of strong laws and the implementation of appropriate programs that would have direct and indirect impact on the nation and the people.

Liberians Are Disappointed with the government they elected twice, and moreover, they are angry with their current living condition that does not suggest it would get better anytime soon.

The Discovery Of oil provides a glimpse of hope for the people that the future could be better; they believe not under the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. A proposed oil law has been discussed and the views of the Liberian people were sought. There were speeches and recommendations from experts, suggesting how to proceed with the new proposed petroleum law.

Before This Time, members of the National Legislature had traveled around the country to gather the views of the people on the formulation of the new petroleum law. The lawmakers returned to Monrovia and commenced discussion on the draft petroleum law.

At The End of the national consultation on the review of the new draft Petroleum Law, the Liberian people advanced several overtures to the National Legislature. According to the draft document, Liberians have recommended death penalty or life imprisonment for individuals found guilty of diverting oil revenues to their personal use. They also recommended that huge compensation be allotted or made available to victims in case of environmental pollution and/or degradation. The Liberian people raised serious concern over safety issues, specifically regarding health and environment hazard.

Interestingly, They Proposed that the moratorium placed on the remaining oil blocks should be enforced until critical issues surrounding the sector are resolved satisfactorily. This proposal comes amid reports that the remaining oil blocks are being negotiated by an official of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) without regard to the moratorium that was placed by President Sirleaf.

The Document, Which reflected the views of citizens from the 15 political sub-divisions of the country, accentuated the need to maintain the current moratorium placed by the government on certain oil blocks, including oil blocks LB1-5. Liberians want government to suspend all negotiations on oil blocks LB-6 and LB-7 with the Chinese company Tong Tai to ensure that proper negotiations and measures are finalized before awarding the blocks. These suggestions are reasonably comprehensible especially so when Liberians believe that oil can become a blessing when the proceeds are used to develop the country's infrastructures and improve the living condition of the people.

However, We Differ with the overture suggesting death penalty for individuals who will divert oil money into their personal use.

We Think That this proposal is radically malicious and it defeats international norms and protocols to which our country is signatory. We understand that the people are frustrated about the government's lack of political will to prosecute officials that have allegedly been indicted by audits of the General Auditing Commission (GAC). We know that Madam Sirleaf cannot and will not prosecute her family members, including her buddies, some of whom she has known for more than 25-30 years.

We Call On the National Legislature to be cognizance of the suggestions made by the Liberian people. We believe that the moratorium should remain in place and those negotiations on oil blocks should be done gradually and limited to two blocks.

This Administration should not be allowed to give all the oil blocks out because to do so would be undermining the future of our country.

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