The leadership of the National Assembly said on Monday, 28 September, 2020 that the ninth Assembly would break the jinx of not being able to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill after several attempts.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila assured Nigerians that the time had come for the passage of the bill.
They spoke at a meeting of the leadership of the National Assembly with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silva, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari and some other top officials in the Petroleum sector.
The meeting was to brief the National Assembly leaders on the focus of the PIB which the Senate President confirmed was forwarded to the Assembly about two weeks ago.
The bill has not been read at the floor of either of the two chambers of the National Assembly because the federal lawmakers are currently on recess but will resume session on Tuesday.
“The PIB is said to be jinx actually for a long time. Probably from 2007 to 2019,” Lawan said in his opening remarks.
“It’s either the bill or bills were sponsored by the executive and not passed by the legislature as was the case in 2007, 2011 in the 6th and 7th Assembly.
“In the 8th Assembly, the legislature sponsored the bill, breaking it down to about three; it passed but there was no assent.
“Now the bill is an executive bill coming to the National Assembly. The two chambers promise that we will break that jinx.
“We want to see an oil industry in Nigeria that is properly regulated, an oil industry that not only sustains the investment that we have but attract even more investment, an oil industry that is very competitive.
“So the Ninth Assembly wants to work with you, have a very clear understanding of every provision so that, at the end of the day, we will break that jinx together with you and provide the oil industry a legislation that will make more effective and efficient at the end of the day,” Lawan said.
The Senate President said it was the first meeting between the Petroleum Ministry and other agencies with the leadership of the National Assembly to discuss the essence and focus of the bill.
“We are glad that the bill is now in the National Assembly even though not before the National Assembly.
“I imagine that by tomorrow(Tuesday) when the communication to the House, communication to the Senate will be read, then it will be before the two chambers of the National Assembly,” Lawan said. Gbajabiamila was also confident that the ninth National Assembly would break the jinx and pass the bill speedily.
“The bill has been long in the making for several years but I believe this is the session in which it will pass.
“We will pass this Bill speedily, however its passage will not sacrifice thoroughness. We will not sacrifice thoroughness on the alter of speed. Speed because it will be in the nation’s best interest.
“In the House of Representatives, we have assembled a crack team of legislators who are versed in the workings of the industry. It is an ad-hoc committee drawn from the House Commitees on Oil, Upstream, Downstream, Local Content and Gas.
“So there is a crack team that will be working with you as we are all trying to go to the same destination.
“Talking about passing it speedily, unfortunately it is coming at the time when it will be competing with the passage of the budget,” Gbajabiamila said.
The Speaker described the bill as “perhaps the most important piece of legislation that will come out from National Assembly in the lifetime of this government.
“It is a most important piece of legislation because we all know what oil represents in terms of our economy. Everyone has been waiting for the arrival of the PIB.
“That is the legislations that is on the lips of every Nigerian whether he knows anything about petroleum or not. It is the most popular and most common Bill. Everybody talks about PIB because oil represents the life wire of our state. That underscores the importance of this bill,” Gbajabiamila said.
Ijaw group warns against tampering with 13 percent derivation formula
A Niger-Delta group, Ijaw People Assembly (IPA) has condemned the proposal by 59 members of the House of Representatives seeking an amendment of Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
It said the real motive was targeted at deleting the Principle of Derivation which stipulated 13% of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from natural resources, describing the move “as an inglorious attempt and a misadventure.”
The group’s scribe, Dortimi Tawari, who spoke in a statement, yesterday, said the plan was an “invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy.”
Tawari warned the proposal was “another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation and other Niger-Delta nationalities.”
Part of the statement read: “The Ijaw nation being a host nation to oil and gas resources and assets, the IPA views this proposal as another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation in particular and the other Niger Delta nationalities.
“Need it be mentioned that it is an invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy. The ljaw People Assembly vehemently oppose a system that will drag the ljaw Nation and the other nationalities in the Niger Delta into undeserved subjugation and retrogression.”
Tawari reiterated the call for a restructured Nigeria that “guarantees resource ownership, control, management and freedom to appropriate a declared percentage of derived revenue to the central government or an arrangement of sovereign nations as the extreme option.”
He said a restructured Nigeria “will promote a productive economy and end the current monthly sharing (rentier) economy under some spurious formular which has encouraged laziness and unviability of states from which the said 59 members all hail from.”
Treat bandits as terrorists – Speakers tell President Buhari
The Conference of Speakers in Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists and enemies of the state.
The Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman, made the pronouncement at the end of the third quarter general meeting of the Conference of Speakers in Katsina on Saturday.
He said the call was one of the outcomes of their 5-point communique reached at the end of their deliberations.
According to the Speakers’ Chairman, they have come to realise that the mode of operations employed by the bandits is not in anyway different from that of terrorists and as such should be treated as one.
Other resolutions reached in the course of the deliberations included working out a legislative framework to complement federal government efforts in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Also, the conference resolved to come up with appropriate laws that will address the fundamental issues responsible for the insecurity experienced in the country.
The communique also harped on the need to create employment opportunities for the teeming youths as a means to curb the insecurity situation bedeviling the country.
Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka
Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians are still managing to eke out a living despite the bleak realities confronting the country.
Soyinka spoke during an interview with the Cable News Network monitored by our correspondent.
Commenting on the ironic title for his first novel in 48 years, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, he said things happened around one as one grew up, witnessing the degrading of dream and environment in one’s society and on the continent.
He explained that for him, the issue had been an arduous journey, adding, “It has reached such a stage, I found intuitively, that only prose fiction can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.”
He said the title came after some people some years ago conducted a poll which placed Nigeria among the top four happiest nations in the world.
The playwright noted, “That thing has been with me, in my head. I asked, ‘Who are these people? What do they know? What have they seen? What have they experienced in Nigeria that they make such an attribution?’ That title really has been waiting to answer that claim in many ways. When you look at the surroundings, everything is the opposite and yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster.
“People still manage to eke out a living not only a living but to some extent a dignified and satisfied living. I think it’s not surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job, insisting that no matter what life must go on… It’s that which needed to be, quote and unquote, celebrated in addition to the bleak actualities.”
The elder statesman further said he took the decision to change his former relationship if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States despite “being literally an enemy of decency and humanity’’ and his blatantly discontent for non-white humanity.
He stated, “I never really totally turned my back on the United States. I mean how could one? We have many Nigerians there, to start with. When I stroll through the streets of the United States, I sometimes think the United States is an extension of Nigeria, that it’s part of our diaspora.” That’s not an easy decision but it was inevitable.”
Commenting on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Soyinka said his immediate statement after the announcement was “let the African tribe expand wherever situated.”
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