By Juliet Ukanwosu
Despite protests from some lawmakers, the Senate on Thursday, passed the conference committee harmonized report of the Senate and House of Representatives on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021.
The passage followed the approval of the recommendations contained in its conference committee report on a Bill for and Act to Provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Communities and for Related Matters, 2021.
On the controversial contribution to the host communities, the upper chamber adopted the 3percent as contribution to the Host Communities Development Fund as recommended by the conference committee. This is against general outcry by stakeholders who have demanded the retention of 5percent as was initially recommended in the House of Representatives passed version.
Extractive 360 learnt that some PDP Senators from the South-South geopolitical zone such as Seriake Dickson and George Thompson Sekibo, protested the retention of 3percent for host communities in the conference committee report. According to them, their decision to speak against the recommendation of the conference committee was to register their support in a way that promotes nothing but the interest of the region.
Prior to the approval of the proposed legislation through voice votes, the senators from the South-South geopolitical zone who protested against the proposed three per cent equity share for the oil host communities were prevailed on by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to back down on a walkout threat.
According to a statement by Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press) to President of the Senate, Sekibo while coming under an order, intimated the Senate President and other Senators of his decision to abstain from voting, as doing so he said, “will put my neck on the line.” The conference committee report was, thereafter, passed after its consideration by the upper chamber.