The Senate yesterday broke its silence on the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), blaming it on the disagreement over the host community clause in the document.
The Red Chamber also condemned calls for a hike in the petrol price, describing such as being sponsored by enemies of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Senate’s spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, told reporters in Abuja that the Upper Chamber, upon resumption from their recess, would take on the management framework, stressing that the sensitivity of the host community relationship stalled the process and most experts have been urging the Senate to revisit the bill.
His words: “The Senate is already primed because most experts have submitted that we need to do something about the PIB. And you know the Senate was billed in our own wisdom, rather than take the whole hog of PIB, to turn in to about one or two components, we wanted to take the management framework but because of the sensitivity of the host community relationship and benefit sharing issue, that issue met some brickwall even before it went ahead.
“And so, we thought it wise to keep it down. But I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt that by the time we come back from recess that issue will still get a front burner attention because it’s key to whatever changes we want to see done, going forward on a sustainable basis in the oil and gas industry.”
On the increase in pump price, Abdullahi berated former Group Managing Directors (GMDs) of the NNPC for being responsible for the current woes that the country is going through, noting that they do not have the moral standpoint to advise government on what to do because they have a hand in it.
Expressing regrets, Sen. Abdullahi said: “The NNPC as an institution was expectedly the life wire of this nation. As we have all known refineries that we have in Nigeria have not been functional because if they have been functional and if that institution had been up and doing in tandem with its peers in other countries that have similar resource endowment as us. For crying out loud all of these former GMDs can they be said to be free of blame on how we got here. Can they?”
He said refineries stopped working while the GMDs were in office, adding that the corporation itself has not been run transparently and the maximum benefit of the Nigerian citizens not taken into consideration.
“At least, I knew it was just in this our change administration that the Minister of State (Petroleum), Ibe Kachikwu, was able to tell Nigerians that they have declared profits now and they are now trying to run. He has brought his wealth of public private sector experience to bear on that corporation that we need to work in a manner that we would be able to say yes we have operated and this is our operating surplus and so we are declaring profits,” he said.
“Before now, going through the period of 16 years misrule of the PDP administration and even before then, the military, they have all been there. Our refineries have not worked, the various subsidiaries PPMC and others. All the problems we are having is as result of what all these people who have assembled now to be the wise men and to tell us what should be done and as far as I am concerned with due respect am not cut out to insult anybody who’s elderly but this is a matter that’s national and this is something that is in our own national interest,” he said.