BY EMMA OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA – Barely nine days to the end of the sixth Assembly, the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, may not eventually sail through as some legislators in the lower chamber describe its debate as a sheer waste of legislative time.
The 300-page bill has been in the front burner in the chamber since March 15, 2011, when it was introduced to both chambers.
The bill is expected to expand Nigeria’s gains from the oil sector, while fostering a comprehensive and well articulated package for the producing areas- remains uncompleted, and lawmakers indicate the bill may not see day light.
As at yesterday, the House of Representatives did not even bother to touch the bill before it adjourned till next week Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the legislators managed to scan through 151 clauses of the legislation, while the senate’s consideration scheduled for the same day did not materialize, raising the possibility of restarting the multi-million naira process, as new lawmakers resume next month.
Current rules in both chambers bar the continuance of bills originated in a previous legislative session, stipulating by implication, a mandatory passage within the four-year term.
In a chat with Vanguard, some legislators simply said the “bill is a sheer waste of legislative time as the bill cannot meet the deadline of this Assembly.”
But if such effort, denied yet by the House, is anything promising, events of the past two weeks, after the lawmakers resumed from a short recess, have pictured a key legislation trapped in the crosswire of a legislature attempting to wind up in the middle of a renewed corruption crisis.
For the past weeks, after the election in which many lawmakers lost, the House suspended earlier announced plans for the consideration of major bills, bracing up to address new fraud allegations involving its leadership.
An attempt to consider the PIB on Wednesday was forced back in the House, while the senate merely listed it without mention.
Discussions of the bill yesterday took a sour, and yet dramatic turn in the House with sudden push by members, spread into regional factions, agitating either for delay of the bill, or complete suspension.