Insecurity: Nigeria under siege, Senate…Says Electoral Act Amendment Bill will be ready before Summer Recess in June

…Adjourns Plenary till May 18 for Sallah

By Henry Umoru

THE Senate has assured that the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB 2020 will be passed before the end of this month.

Lawan had assured that as Nigeria begins a new year, 2021, the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill 2020(SB) 510 will be passed by end of the first quarter of the year.

Speaking on Thursday shortly after a closed-door session with the Security Chiefs, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan said that before that date, “we expect that our committees will still be working particularly the Joint Committee working on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“We expect that the joint committee will be presenting its report to the Senate as soon as we resume. It is still our desire and determination to pass the PIB before the end of May.”

Recall that the PIB scaled second reading October  2020 and after debate on the its  general principles, the bill was referred to the Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream, and Gas for reports in eight weeks.

Pending since 2007, the PIB which is an executive bill seeks, among others, to promote the competitive and liberalised downstream sector of the petroleum industry as well as the development of fuel and chemical industries.

Also recall that the President of the Senate who had said that the ninth National Assembly would make the passage of PIB part of its legacies, also assured that the National Assembly would pass the bill in good time without compromising proper scrutiny.

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The new PIB is said to be important, especially as it aims at the restructuring as well as transparency and accountability in the oil and gas industry.

Specifically, Section 54(1, 2 and3 ) states among others that, “the Minister (of Petroleum) and the Minister of Finance shall determine the assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC to be transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries and upon the identification, the minister shall cause such assets, interests, and liabilities to be transferred to NNPC Limited.

“Assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under subsection 1 of this section shall remain the assets, interests, and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the government.”

The President of the Senate also yesterday disclosed that the electoral Act Amendment Bill will be ready before Summer Recess in June this year.

On the Electoral Act amendment Bill who noted that the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would still have to do some little work, however expressed hope that the National Assembly would pass the amendment to the Bill before the Summer Recess which is in June.

Lawan said, “Other committees particularly again, our committee on Constitution Review headed by Deputy Senate President has designed zonal interactions with our constituents, Nigerians.

“We also expect that they will be able to complete their work as soon as possible for the Senate and House of Representatives to vote on the issues and of course send our report to the 36 State Houses of Assembly.

“I am sure that during our recess, between now and May 18, we will still be doing one form of legislative intervention or the other, either as individuals or may be as groups because ours is a full time job, and the parliament and parliamentarians are always the first point of call when there is distress.

“Nigerians will always remember National Assembly members as soon as something happens. We will continue to be available to our constituents. We should continue to be alive to our responsibilities and we should continue to do our best.”

The President of the Senate has also announced that the Senate has adjourned for the Sallah break and to resume on May18.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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