BY JOSEPH ERUNKE
ABUJA—SENATE President, David Mark, yesterday, charged relevant Senate committees handling the Petroleum Industry Bill,PIB, to expedite action towards its passage.
This came on the heels of Senate resolution to probe the controversial kerosine subsidy in the country.
To this end, the Senate will today begin debate on a motion to probe payment of subsidy on kerosine by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The development followed a point of order raised by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, seeking explanation on the fate of the PIB pending before the Senate.
Adetunmbi (APC, Ekiti North) said delay in treatment of the PIB was responsible for what he described as “large scale abuses and illegalities being witnessed in the nation’s oil sector.”
He expressed dissatisfaction with the handling of the pending PIB in the National Assembly and appealed to the Senate to urgently revisit the bill in the interest of Nigeria and her peoples.
He also tasked the Senate to resume investigations into the $1.1bn proceeds allegedly paid to Malabu Oil Company from the sale of the oil block OPL 245 on March 25, 2011.
Senator Adetunmbi said he was seeking explanations on the current status of the PIB which he noted, had since March 2013, passed second reading in the Senate, noting that Nigerians were worried that the oil sector cannot be properly regulated for the benefit of the country without putting in place an effective legislation.
His words:”As a matter of privilege, I need to know the status of the PIB pending before this Senate long after it was committed to the relevant committee.
“Nigerians are worried that the non-passage of that bill is responsible for many of the terrible things happening in the very important oil sector.
“The PIB after debate in this chamber was committed to the appropriate committee on Thursday, March 7, 2013. It would be one year next month and up till now there seem to be nothing going on,” the Senate President lamented.
He observed that investigations into the Malabu oil scam was still inconclusive after it was committed to a committee for necessary action since July 2013.