After 14 long years of deliberations, the House of Representatives led by, Femi Gbajabiamila, has passed the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
The lawmakers passed the bill after a clause by clause consideration of the Mohammed Monguno led ad hoc committee report by the committee of the whole House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase.
Thursday’s plenary which was dedicated to the passage of the Bill, was characterized by sharp division over the allocation of 5% for the development of host communities in the Niger Delta as provided for in the new bill.
Under chapter three of the Committee report which was being debated for passage into law, Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita representing Kachina North Senatorial District raised a point of order suggesting that the 5% be reduced to 3%.
Kaita’s point of order immediately divided the Chambers between the North and South as Senator Thompson Sekibo representing Rivers East Senatorial District and Senator Albert Bassey argued to sustain the 5% to no avail.
Meanwhile, Senator Bala Ibn’Nallah and other Senators from the northern zone pleaded for the 3% to be sustained.
In his reaction, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan urged the aggrieved Senators to be patient given that the PIB has suffered many failures in the past adding that the Bill could be amended at another time.
“I appeal to Senator Sekibo and other colleagues to withdraw their objection to the 3% in the interest of the people we are representing.”
He put the 3% suggestion to voice vote against the 5% and it was sustained.