King Edward Dakoro, a traditional ruler in Nembe, Bayelsa State has urged the Niger Delta region to cooperate with the Federal Government as it pursues passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Dakoro, a former Minister of Petroleum spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Port Harcourt.
He said that the provisions of PIB were people-oriented as it also sought to address the issues of marginalisation of oil-producing communities.
Dakoro urged all indigenous groups in the region clamouring to be captured clause by clause in the bill to understand that as indigenes they needed to have a bigger and recognisable status which the local governments had already provided for them.
"It definitely can't be a collection of separate groups which are not legal entities that can either sue or be sued under a bill of this nature.
"Though, they may be registered bodies, their stand on grassroots representation is not defined and in such case, there would be unnecessary duplication.
"The local government as we all know is a recognisable entity with fixed boundaries determined by the law and with a population under the national population count, so the administration of power, resources is purely hierarchical across the Federation," he said.
Dakoro, therefore, urged the Federal Government to emphasise more on those clauses that supported community inclusion and local content.
"If perhaps these indigenous groups are complaining about areas such as overall space occupied by oil operational activities and operators then, the aspect of local content would satisfy their curiosity," he added.
Dakoro wondered why the country could not step in the gaps that the foreigners adopted since the commercial discovery of crude oil about 70 years ago.
"Why are we still waiting for foreigners to keep baking our cakes for us? Can we say that we don't have enough expertise? Or that we cannot raise capital? Nigeria must indeed bear the blame.
"Oil is generally pioneered by technology so, if Nigeria has learnt from foreigners for 70 years, then the area of technology which definitely is a global collaborative effort would have been sorted towards growing our local contents.
"It is so sad that the country is greatly dependent on foreigners for virtually everything," he said.
Vanguard News Nigeria