Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua has called on the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to do more to help local people ahead of drawing up a bill to reform the country’s oil industry.

“I urge you to further commit to working diligently to ensure that the oil and gas industry is directed towards meeting both the aspirations of Nigerians and the legitimate business goals of all our partners,” he said.

“The enormous potential of oil and gas for generating economic growth, transfer of technology and providing a strong foundation for the transformation of our industrial and agricultural sectors has never really been fully exploited,” he added.

He also spoke of the need to create a better governance framework in the oil sector. “This effort will result in the drafting of a Petroleum Industry Bill, which I will place before the National Assembly within the next few months,” he said.

It will be interesting to see if the Bill is a radical change from the past or more of the hollow promises that have ruined so many lives.