Buhari Asks Senate To Amend PIA Over ‘Unbalanced Geographical Representation’, Others

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary in the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

He made the request in a letter read by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary on Tuesday on the floor of the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

In the letter dated September 16, President Buhari explained that his proposal became necessary having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission.

He listed the three areas of the Act he sought to be amended to include the appointment of non-executive board members, removal of the Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Finance from the boards of the two institutions, as well as the appointment of executive directors.

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While the PIA provides for the appointment of two non-executive board members, President Buhari is seeking an expansion of the membership.

“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country,” he said in the letter to the lawmakers.

“I, therefore, pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.

“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry.”

If approved, the President is hopeful that the amendment will increase the number of non-executive board members from two to six – ensuring that each region has a representation.

Parts of the Act highlighted by the President for amendment are Section 11(2)(b), Section 34(2)(b), Section 11(2)(f), Section 11(2)(g), and Section 34(2)(g), among others.

He, however, asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of Isa Modibbo as Chairman of the Upstream Regulatory Commission, and Gbenga Komolafe as its Chief Executive.

The lawmakers were also asked to confirm Hassan Gambo and Rose Ndong as the Executive Commissioners of Finance and Accounts, as well as Exploration and Acreage Management respectively.

PIA: We Did Not Receive $10m Bribe, Lawan Debunks Reports

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

 

President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan has debunked reports suggesting that members of the National Assembly were bribed to the tune of $10 million to pass the three per cent allocation to host communities as stipulated in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Lawan told State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday that he took exception to the spread of falsehood propagated to mislead the public.

“That is funny but also very serious,” the Senate President said of the allegation. “I really want to take this opportunity to take exception to those kinds of unwarranted, unprovable, false and fake information being fed to the Nigerian public.”

His comment is the latest development in the controversy that has followed the National Assembly’s decision to shun calls for five per cent allocation to the host communities in favour of the three per cent allocation when they passed  the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021.

President Buhari signed the bill into law on August 16, three days after returning from his trip to the United Kingdom, a move that further fueled debates over the choice of three percent allocation to the host communities. 

Beyond the debates, reports emerged claiming the lawmakers’ decision in passing the bill was influenced by kickbacks, reports the Senate President says are part of a dangerous trend.

“The danger people will face with this is, you cause unnecessary damage to the reputation of people,” he said.

Such allegations, Senator Lawan said, amounted to slander.

“I had an occasion to take someone to court because of this kind of thing previously, about three months ago,” he added, signalling his willingness to take legal action when necessary.

While urging Nigerians to speak the truth at all times, he gave the assurance that the Senate was working in the best interest of the people.


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A photo released by the State House on August 16, 2021 showing President Muhammadu Buhari signing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House
A photo released by the State House on August 16, 2021 showing President Muhammadu Buhari signing the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House

 

Meanwhile, the President’s assent has led to the emergence of the Petroleum Industry Act which provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry.

Under the act, host communities are expected to get three per cent of the operating expenditure of oil companies, while 30 per cent of the revenue is set aside for frontier exploration, an agreement which some, especially those from the South-South, have vehemently frowned at, demanding a higher allocation. 

The host communities allocation debate, argued on the pages of dailies, and in parliament, has continued even after the National Assembly settled for three per cent mid July and the President’s assent to the bill, the birth of a much-anticipated Act.

We Will Take Keen Interest In Remittance Of Three Per Cent PIA – Senator Akpabio

A file photo of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

 

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio says his ministry will closely monitor and ensure strict adherence to the remittance of the three percent Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) compensations to host communities.

Senator Akpabio disclosed this on Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing at the State House in Abuja.

He explained that he is not interested in the percentage (which according to him can be managed) but in the disbursement process.

While Akpabio was confident that no Niger Delta indigene would need to agitate over the disbursement procedure, he raised concerns over the need to properly define host communities.

The Minister also promised that he will intensify sensitization campaigns through the Niger Delta Ministry on the matter.