Update: Again, PIB stalls as reps disagree with Senate, step down report after rowdy session

July 15, 2021
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ABUJA – The House of Representatives on Thursday stepped down the adoption of the report on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), for the third reading and final passage.

This was as a result of disagreement by members of the House from the Niger Delta region caused a rowdy session in protest of the reduction of host community fund from the initial 5% passed by the House, to the controversial 3% passed by the Senate at the conference committee.

The rowdy moments began Thursday morning before the speaker made his way into the chamber for the commencement of the plenary session.

At first, it was not clear what the issue was.

Many people had thought the issue had to do with the consideration of the Electoral Bill which the House was expected to do this morning.

Members had armed themselves with copies of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, waiting for the procession of the Speaker into the chamber to begin the business of the day.

It was not until lawmakers from the Niger Delta region, noticeably, Hon. Chinyere Igwe and Hon. Boma Goodhead from Rivers State and the Hon. Bede Eke from Imo State started shouting “5 per cent”, gesticulating with their hands to draw attention that it became clearer what the issue was.

Midway into the rowdy session, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and the principal officers matched into the chamber.

Seeing the charged atmosphere, Gbajabiamila called for an executive session of the House.

The session which was called at about 11:47 am lasted until 1: 25 pm, while prayer for the commencement of plenary was offered at 1:30 pm.

Following the closed-door session called for by the House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila to resolve the issues, journalists and parliamentary staff were called back into the chamber and gallery for commencement of the day’s proceedings.

The Speaker after calling on the Clerk of the House, Barrister Ben Akubueze to read 37 bills introduced by the House for legislation.

He thereafter moved to the consideration of reports, calling on the chairman of the ad-hoc committee on PIB, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno to present the report for consideration.

However, Monguno, rising from his sit announced that the committee was stepping down the harmonised version of the bill which was listed as item number 28 on the Order Paper.

“The Report of the Conference Committee on a Bill for an Act to Provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Communities and for Related Matters is hereby stepped down by leave if the House,” Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila ruled.

The speaker had during his speech marking the end of the legislative year hinted that “the PIB would be transmitted to the president after a proper harmonization with the Senate.”

As it stands, the much-awaited PIB may not become law soon as the National Assembly has proceeded on its annual recess until September.

However, the question as to whether both chambers will agree to reverse the 3% clause back to the desired 5% is a matter of time.

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