By Henry Umoru

ABUJA — FOLLOWING debates on report of the 1999 Constitution, the Senate has been forced to shift a planned public hearing on the provisions of the new Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, with the thirty-six state governors and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Senator Bala Mohammed.

The public hearing on the  PIB was slated for tomorrow, Tuesday, but had to be shifted due to last Tuesday’s conclusive voting on clauses to be amended in the 1999 Constitution and a valedictory session for late Senator Pius Ewherido from Delta Central Senatorial District.

It will be recalled that Senate had mandated its four standing committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream), Gas and Judiciary and Human Rights to work on the new PIB through a meeting with the public and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.

Session for Ewherido, burial arrangements

Meanwhile, Senate will hold a valedictory session for late Senator Ewherido, on Wednesday, July 17. Ewherido died on June 30 at the National Hospital, Abuja.

A statement by the family said the body of Senator Ewherido would leave for Warri immediately after the valedictory session in the Senate, while on Thursday, July 18, Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, will hold a valedictory session at Uvwiamuge Agbarho at 11a.m.

The statement said: “At 4p.m. same day, service of songs will hold at Mother of the Redeemer Catholic Church, Effurun, while on Friday, July 19, funeral service will hold at Catholic Cathedral, Warri.

“Burial will take place at Ewu Urhobo same day, while on Sunday July 21, outing service will hold at Catholic Church, Ewu Urhobo.”

The joint committee on the new PIB had initially been fixed for July 16 and 17 to meet with state governors, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of  Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.

President Goodluck Jonathan had in July 2012, submitted the new PIB to the National Assembly.

Chairman of the Joint Committee, who is also Chairman of Petroleum Resources, Upstream, Senator Paulker Emmanuel, PDP, Bayelsa Central, yesterday told journalists: “On the scale of urgent matters of national importance, the constitution of the Federal Republic takes precedence.

“As you are all aware, Senate was unable to vote last Thursday because we had to intervene in the Rivers State House of Assembly fracas of last Tuesday. The whole of Wednesday plenary was devoted to that.

“Senate decided on the shift because we will also dedicate Wednesday plenary as a valedictory session for one of our departed colleague, late Senator Pius Ewherido from Delta Central.”

For public hearing

Also invited for the public hearing are the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, and the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

Others are all  managing directors of international oil companies, OICs; managing directors of indigenous oil companies, unions, including NUPENG, PENGASSAN and oil-producing communities.

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