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.

We Will Rebuild The Niger Delta, President Buhari Assures

Oil-spil-Niger-deltaPresident Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will rebuild Nigeria, including the Niger Delta region.

The President pledged that under his watch, Nigeria would witness judicious utilisation of resources while he solicited patience and understanding from the citizenry.

He said this on Thursday at the State House in Abuja when he received a delegation of Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group, led by HRM King Alfred Diette-Spiff, the Amanyanabo of Twon Brass in Bayelsa State.

“We intend to rebuild this country; so that our children and grandchildren will have a good place they can call their own. A lot of damage has been done, so I want you to tell the people to be patient.

“When you get together with other leaders, please pacify the people. We will utilise the resources of Nigeria with integrity and rebuild the country.”

President Buhari said the gazette on the Niger Delta amnesty programme by the Umaru Yar’Adua administration was being studied with a view to determining what had been fulfilled, promising that whatever was left would equally be addressed.

“I want to get as much intelligence as possible on the situation in the Niger Delta. I have encouraged law enforcement agencies to contact leaders like you in order to have enough information to deal with the issues once and for all,” he said.

The President sympathised with investors, who borrowed lots of money to invest in the Niger Delta region and have not recouped their investments due to insecurity.

He used the occasion of his audience with the group to reiterate his appeal to those who perpetrate violence to embrace peace and give government a chance.

In his response, King Diette-Spiff said the group was made up of peace builders, dedicated to peace and stability in the region.

Court Orders Nigerian Leaders To Account For Recovered Stolen Funds

Nigerian-Leaders-from-1999A Federal High Court on Tuesday ordered the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that his government, the governments of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former President Umaru Yar’adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan account fully for all recovered funds.

The Court sitting in Lagos declared that successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 breached the fundamental Principles of Transparency and Accountability for failing to disclose details about the spending of recovered stolen public funds.

Justice Mohammed Idris made the order while delivering judgment in a Freedom of Information suit filed by a non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

In an interview with Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Shola Soyele, SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the onus was now on the Accountant General of the Federation working closely with the Central Bank of Nigeria and other relevant organisations of the government to comply with the court’s order.

“The information we received was that certain recoveries were made from Abacha, some from Ibori and some other public servants.

“We are not able to see. For Abacha alone it was about six billion dollars.  If such monies were recovered, we should be able to see on ground where those monies went in terms of expenditures.

“In spite of such recoveries, there has been no serious improvement on the road networks in Nigeria, nothing like improvement in the health facilities in Nigeria, the electricity system is still very comatose.

“That is why we think that whatever happens, this is a democracy, you must let the people know what going on. It is as simple as that,” Mr Mumuni said.

One of such recovered loots that Nigerians will like to know how it was utilised is the loot of a former military leader, General Sanni Abacha.

The National Economic Council had in December last year said the loots recovered from late General Abacha was $26.4 million and £19 million as at November.

Senate Begins Power Sector Probe

-Senate-House-Reps-on power probeThe Senate will begin a probe of the Nigerian Power Sector on Tuesday, September 8, in Abuja.

The probe is expected to cover the regimes of former Presidents; Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’adua and  Goodluck Jonathan.

The Senate Ad- hoc Committee on Power, inaugurated by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, about two weeks ago in a statement made its plans public.

The Clerk of the Committee on Power, Mr Cletus Ojabo, who signed the statement, said the probe would be in form of investigative hearing and interactive session with key players in the sector.

He added that the investigation will focus on funds appropriated for the Power Sector from 1999, till date.

Shehu Sani Urges Buhari To End Amnesty Program For Ex-Militants

The Senator-elect for Kaduna Central, Mr Shehu Sani, has called on the PAmnestyresident-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to scrap the ongoing amnesty programme for ex-militants when sworn into office.

The programme was initiated by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for ex-militants in the Niger Delta.

Speaking during a courtesy call to Arewa House in Kaduna on Tuesday, Sani described the entire amnesty programme as a sham and urged the incoming President to probe the operations of the Amnesty programme.

According to him, the amnesty programme ought to be a temporary gesture and not a permanent thing which, he said, some persons have turned into a conduit pipe to drain the nation’s wealth.

The senator-elect wondered why the amnesty programme should be continuous and only meant for youths from a particular ethnic nationality while their counterparts from other regions are left out.

The senator-elect also accused President Jonathan’s administration of skewing development to the South-South alone while neglecting the North and South-West regions.

On the back of this, he called on General Buhari not to repeat “the mistake” of the outgoing government, but to ensure he carries all parts of the country along in his government.

Security Consultant Says BCMR Will Enhance National Security

A strategic security consultant, Max Gbanite on Tuesday described the introduction of the Biometric Central Motor Registry (BCMR) as a “strategic stratagem of national security”.

He said “I think it’s good for the national security of our country, especially now that the enterprise called terrorism is everywhere in the world. We need to be able to trace vehicles and track the movement of vehicles within the country”.

He however questioned the policy framework that gives the police the right to charge Nigerians money to register vehicles or biometrics insisting that “it does not exist in the police environment”.

He also noted that the charging of fees for the registration “subtly exists in the Federal Road Safety Corporation (FRSC) because it is a statutory body that have been asked to register vehicles, to give us our driver’s license and in exchange you have to pay them” adding that “the payment you make to them goes to the national tax board and revenue”.

The FRSC, according to Gbanite is established as a revenue collection agency given the mandate to do such things.

Gbanite, who was speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, noted that the idea of vehicle registration “have been tinkered upon since 2007” stressing that “it was discussed at the latter part of the Obasanjo regime and was discussed in full during the era of Umaru Yar’adua ”.

He further said that the late president “gave his tacit approval” revealing that it was going to be “housed by the FRSC”.

He berated the high cost of obtaining the new driver’s license and vehicle registration, describing it as “expensive for the common man”.

He called for the introduction of a policy formulation that houses all these data and have a body of management to manage these data.

The body, he added will “enable any security agencies the opportunity to access this data as when needed in the course of their investigation”.

He insisted that the data collection can be done by the FRSC and forwarded to the central data management centre for other agencies to access.