Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill Passes Second Reading In The Senate

senateThe Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has passed second reading in the Senate.

Part of the document which scaled second reading on Wednesday provides for the governance and institutional framework for the Oil and Gas Industry.

The PIB was broken down into five parts to allow for an in depth analysis of the bill.

One of the cardinal objectives of the PIB is to create a single regulatory agency for the petroleum sector.

The bill splits the NNPC into two separate entities namely the Nigeria Petroleum Assets Management Company (NPAMC) and a National Oil Company (NOC).

The NOC will be an integrated oil and gas company operating as a fully commercial entity and will run like a private company.

The bill began its journey of passage in the National Assembly in 2008, when the late President Umaru Yar’adua forwarded it as an executive bill for consideration.

Although, it scaled second reading in both chambers of parliament, but in the sixth and seventh National Assemblies it was not passed into law.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had promised on his assumption of office in the eighth Senate that the PIB bill would be given due consideration under his leadership.

Civil Society Question Status Of PIB

PIBOn September 14, 2016, some civil society groups in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory questioned the status of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which they said had been pending for 12 years.

They said the modification of the bill into five sections appeared different from the original bill presented to the National Assembly.

The groups are building a common alliance to engage the Federal Government and the National Assembly on the reforms in the oil and gas sector.

Members are also questioning the oil swap status of the country and the level of implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Led by the Executive Director of the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Mr David Ugolor, the civil groups called for more public disclosure by the executive and the legislative arms of government for enhanced public involvement in these issues which affect the livelihood of the masses.

Dr. Saraki Speaks On PIBSaraki, CCT

But Dr. Saraki while speaking at the opening session of the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital noted that the National Assembly was determined to pass necessary legislations that would give private investors, the confidence to invest in the Nigerian economy.

After the investors at the discussion gave their view on the PIB, he said the next step for the federal lawmakers was to start passing the bill into law.

“The message here across to the private sector is that the National Assembly, the House of Representatives and the Senate are working very closely together in this 8th National Assembly and as such, you have our commitment that some of these processes will not be bugged down and not be passed because one chamber is doing something differently.

“As part of this commitment, you will all see next week (when we lay down the Petroleum Industry governance bill) that the bill that we are going to lay in the House is the same bill we are going to lay in the Senate,” Senator Saraki assured the investors.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe Dies At 71

Ojo Maduekwe, Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of TransportThe former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, has died at the age of 71.

The elder-statesman was reported to be returning to Nigeria on Wednesday from the U.S via Dubai when he fell ill.

Maduekwe was born on May, 6, 1945 in Abia State.

He was appointed Culture and Tourism Minister by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, and Minister of Transport in 2001.

He was also made Foreign Minister of Nigeria on July 26, 2007 by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and left office in March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.

He was National Secretary of then ruling political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and worked as the Deputy Director of PDP presidential campaign 2011 Goodluck/Sambo ticket.

The late elder-statesman advocated greater use of bicycles during his time as Minister of Transport.

NUPENG, PENGASSAN Reverse Strike Decision

The Trade Unions in the oil and gas sector would not be embarking on the industrial action, in protest of the Federal Government’s plan to sell the country’s refineries.

The leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association PENGASSAN and NUPENG reached this decision after a 5-hour close door meeting with the Ministers of Petroleum and Labour.

Reading the communiques after the meeting, the Minister of Labour, Mister Emeka Wogu, said that Government would not sell the nation’s refineries.

In his reaction, the President of PENGASSAN, Babatunde Ogun told Channels Television that the agreement would serve as evidence to Nigerians that they (unions) are not trouble makers if the government decides to go back on its promise. He expressed confidence that the Federal Government can effectively manage the refineries if it makes the required investments and decisions.

“If government cannot keep to agreement, it means that government is not really serious…. If you are supposed to do something and you don’t do it for almost 10 to 14 years, then you cannot say government cannot run it (refineries),” he said, adding that “if they have challenges about funds, we can always look for funds.

Also, President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese said the “materials for the turn-around maintenance of the Port Harcourt refineries are on ground already and that’s why we are confident that in this first quarter, the Port Harcourt refinery turn-around maintenance will be concluded and then we can be thinking of the next one.”

FG Denies Plan To Sell Refineries

The reported approval by Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, for the sale of the nation’s four refineries has been denied by the Presidency.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, told journalists at the Presidential Villa that President Goodluck Jonathan has not given and does not plan to give approval to that effect.

The oil and gas workers unions had threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action following the announcement that the four refineries had been slated for privatisation in 2014 by the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE.

Mr. Abati, however, dismissed the threat by the oil and gas workers, insisting that if the reason for the proposed strike is the issue of the refineries, then the action would not take place.

An attempt to sell the refineries was first made during the administration of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, but the decision was reversed by his successor, the late President Umaru Yar’adua.

Also, a presidential committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan in the wake of the corruption scandal in the oil and gas industry had recommended the sale of the refineries as a way to avoid the wastage of government funds.

There had been news that the President has approved the constitution of a steering committee chaired by the Minister of Petroleum Resources with 13 members including the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Minister of Power, Minister of Labour and Minister of National Planning, to oversee the privatisation process.

The national bodies of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, (NUPENG) had announced plans by their associations to commence an industrial action in the first week of January 2014, if the Federal Government failed to rescind its alleged decision to privatise the refineries.

They claimed that the planned privatisation was an attempt to hand over the nation’s refineries to cronies of the Federal Government.

Uduaghan calls Kidnap of Okonjo-Iweala’s mom ‘a kill joy’

The Delta State governor, Emmanuel Udugahan on Monday said the Kidnap of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s mother is ‘a kill joy’ to the state.

Mr Uduaghan, who was speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the state was in a festive mood after emerging the winner of the just concluded 18th National Sport Festival tagged Eko 2012 until the news of the kidnap of the mother of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance.

“The kidnap of the Honourable Minister’s mother is really unfortunate because it is like a kill joy. This is a period that we in Delta State are supposed to be celebrating our victory at the National Sport Festival,” the governor said.

Mr Uduaghan said he has directed the police to ensure the release of Kamene Okonjo within the next 24 hours.

Mrs Okonjo was abducted by unknown gunmen from her home in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta state at about midday on Sunday.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, in a press release signed by her Personal Assistant, Paul Nwabuikwu confirmed that her mother was abducted from her home.

The kidnappers are yet to make contact with the family of the victim.

The husband of the victim, Obi Chukwuka Okonjo, a retired Professor of Economics, is the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku.

Jonathan praises America’s relations with Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his gratitude to the American Secretary of State, Mrs Hillary Clinton for her effort in raising the relationship between Nigeria and the United States to an enviable standard.

The president made this known while speaking, Thursday evening, in his office after holding talks with Mrs Clinton while on a working visit to Nigeria.

The meeting which centred on discussions about the nation’s security challenge and economy, lasted for about two and a half hours.

President Jonathan told the American envoy that the Obama’s administration has been passionate about issues concerning Nigeria, especially when the nation faced a number of challenges.

He cited instances such as the death of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, as well as during the 2011 presidential elections.

President Jonathan urged the US to continue to support Africa in its quest to develop.

On her part Mrs Clinton made it clear that the United States is committed to the partnership with Nigeria and that it will continue to work with Nigeria in the diversification of the economy and the reform efforts of the Jonathan administration.

According to her, the future for Nigeria is limitless as long as all Nigerians are given a chance to fulfil their potentials

Nigeria to get first female Chief Justice

President Goodluck Jonathan has nominated Justice Aloma Mukthar as the next Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), making her the first female CJN in the nation’s history.

The president forwarded the nomination of Justice Mukthar to the Senate for confirmation on Wednesday in conformity with Section 123 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

If approved by the Senate, Justice Mukthar will replace Chief Justice Dahiru Musdapher, who is due to retire on July 13, 2012 having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The new CJN if approved, will become the first female head of the Nigeria’s judiciary.

Born in Kano state in 1944, the jurist was also the first woman to be appointed Judge at the Court of Appeal in September, 1987.

Justice Mukhtar, who was called to the Nigerian bar in 1967, a year after she was called to the English bar, was also the first female to be appointed Justice of the Supreme Court, in 2005.

She is at present, one of only three female justices of the apex court, the others being Olufunlola Adekeye and Mary Odili.

The nominated CJN was one of the three judges-with a minority vote- sought to nullify the 2007 presidential elections that brought in late President Umaru Yar’Adua, when they ruled that the several violations of the electoral law particularly non serialization of ballot papers used for the Presidential election, was enough to disqualify the election.

Their views were however in the minority as the majority of four Supreme Court Justices ruled that the non-compliance, though existed, were not enough to invalidate the elections.

President Jonathan also forwarded the names of Justices Kumai Akaahs and Stanley Alagoa for confirmation as Justices of the Supreme Court.