OrderPaperToday – The joint conference committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has thrown the House of Representatives into a rowdy session as lawmakers were seen shouting and pointing fingers at one another saying they would not accept ‘any fraud.’
Eventually, the House stepped down the report after chairman of the harmonization committee, Mr. Mohammed Mungonu, moved a motion to that effect.
Drama started before plenary when some lawmakers were still strolling in amidst the shouting and rowdiness created by others who could not be immediately identified.
The shouting got louder and assumed the form of a protest observed to be mounted by members from the South South geo-political zone. Noticeably, Chinyere Igwe and Boma Goodhead, both members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Rivers State were loudest in the row.
Shortly after, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, entered the chamber unannounced and most members including the press who were in the gallery were taken aback because ordinarily, the sergeant at arms would announce his arrival “Mr. Speaker” but that was not the case.
He went straight to his seat and sat down without the usual exchange of pleasantries which in most cases consumes significant time before plenary officially takes off.
The shouting continued despite the Speaker’s presence as the lawmakers could be heard saying “5% or nothing more. This is fraudulent we want 5% or we would burst the pipe”.
Having observed the mood of the House, Mr. Gbajabiamila immediately announced for a closed door session.
Recall that the Senate passed the PIB and pegged host community funding at 3% while the House retained 5% as proposed in the joint committee report laid in both chambers.
When the House resumed plenary after an hour of closed door session, Mr. Mungonu moved to step down the PIB report.