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National Assembly#PIBWatchPIB: Mixed reactions trail assent by Buhari

PIB: Mixed reactions trail assent by Buhari

OrderPaperToday – More reactions have continued to trail the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021 into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
While the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, hailed the action of the President, a lawmaker from Akwa Ibom State expressed reservations on the deal for host communities in the Act.
Recall that a statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, announced the presidential assent, saying: “Working from home in five days quarantine as required by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 after returning from London on Friday August 13, the President assented to the Bill Monday August 16, in his determination to fulfill his constitutional duty.”
Recall further that the Senate had passed the Bill on July 15, 2021, while the House of Representatives did same on July 16, thus ending a two-decade long journey to reform the petroleum sector.
In a swift reaction, the Senate has described the presidential assent as a major victory that has the potential of bailing Nigeria out of her economic predicament and enable the country make the most of economic gains of the oil industry for the benefit of Nigerians.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Affairs, Sen. Ajibola Basiru, on Monday, said that the efforts to reform the sector had been a protracted affair as the PIB, first initiated in 2003, had been subjected to a ping pong affair between the previous Legislatures and the Executive.
“The 9th National  Assembly finally broke the jinx when it recently passed the Bill after working dispassionately by putting the interest of the nation first over petty squabbles and other self interests, thereby laying finally to rest previous failed attempts”, Basiru stated.

Sen. Basiru also attributed the presidential assent to the Bill to the efforts of all stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, adding that it will the pave way for investments into the sector.

On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila, said that Nigeria’s oil and gas industry will now receive a breath of fresh air and allow investments and transparency to flourish with the coming into being of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila noted that the coming into being of the law is a victory for Nigerians and a landmark achievement that ended the two-decade-long journey of the PIB.

Gbajabiamila said when massive investments come into the country as a result of the PIB, a lot of Nigerians will gain employment and also benefit from reduced fuel prices as there would be competition among the industry players.

The speaker praised the determination of the 9th Assembly that saw the Act become a success and commended the synergy between the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government that won the victory for Nigerians.

“As I said before, this is a landmark achievement. It has been 20 years in coming. This 9th Assembly will be recorded on the right side of history for this big score”, he stated.

However, lawmaker representing Itu/Ibiono/Ibom federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State, Henry Archibong, berated President Buhari for ignoring the concerns of the host communities.

He faulted the President for assenting to the PIB with allocation of three percent of annual operating cost of companies for host communities as against the five percent canvassed for by mostly persons from the Niger Delta region where the resource is largely found.

In his words, “we in the Niger Delta region are not happy with the passage of the PIB. The PIB is something that would have been achieved along time ago.  But in Nigeria, things are always politicized. When it was not in the favour of the north, they refused to sign the PIB.

“Now that they know that it’s not in the favour of host communities, it has been signed. The five percent we asked for the host community was rejected so we are not happy with it.”

Speaking on a possible amendment, the lawmaker stated that it is always difficult to get an amendment, because if it does not favour the ruling party, the issue is always difficult.

“No amount of opposition can reverse what has been signed into law”, he mentioned.

Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James is a research writer and journalist with years of proven footprints in areas of crime and politics. She has M.Sc in International Relations and Strategic Studies; and B.Sc in Mass Communication.
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