By OKEY NDIRIBE & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA — The House of Representatives yesterday denied that it was under pressure from multinational oil corporations and northern leaders over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
This was disclosed by Hon. Ishaq Bawa, Chief Whip of the House and Chairman of House Adhoc Committee on PIB while addressing newsmen to announce the commencement of zonal public hearing on the bill which is slated for April 22 and 23.
However, Bawa also acknowledged that several oil companies and individuals have sent memoranda and letters to the committee on aspects of the bill they want considered.
Said he: “ Nobody is mounting pressure on me or the committee. So far I can authoritatively tell you that I am not under any pressure. Yes we have received some letters and memoranda from oil firms.”
Bawa said the panel was not concerned about the stand of the Northern senators or any other group on the bill, promising to dispassionately examine and debate every clause of the bill.
for state governments ,state legislatures, professional/interest groups to participate in the crafting of a Petroleum Industry Legislation that will hold something for everybody”.
He continued: “These public hearings will be capped by a 3-day grand finale to be held in Abuja on dates to be announced in due course. The Abuja hearing is intended to provide the final opportunity to the Committee to collate the views of other stakeholders who might have been unwittingly left out of the zonal hearings.
“At the conclusion of these hearings, the Committee will move into the next stage of examining the Bill in its entirety within the context of the preponderance of views collated at the public hearings and distilled from the memoranda to be submitted to the committee.”
Already, the bill has scaled second reading in the House. The Bawa committee was set up last November but was inaugurated three months after by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal. It held a stakeholders’ conference on the bill in Lagos last February.