14 November 2012

Nigeria: Reps Begin PIB Debate Today

Photo: Vanguard
Oil refinery

After two postponements, the House of Representatives will today begin debates on the general principles of the touchy 223-page Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), House Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal announced at yesterday's plenary.

Also, efforts by federal lawmakers from opposition political parties to achieve a unified position on the touchy Bill gathered steam with a briefing by consultants contracted by House Minority Leader/Leader of Opposition, Femi Gbajabiamila (ACN, Lagos) on key details of the Bill.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Monday briefing, the House Minority Leader told LEADERSHIP that the strategic meeting of Representatives from opposition political parties was not late as the delay bordered on scheduling for parties involved.

"Better late than never," he said. "The debate hasn't begun; everything is about timing; the timing has to be convenient for us and the consultant as well."

According to him, after proper briefing and fuller understanding on the details of the PIB, there stood a "good chance" for lawmakers from opposition political parties to present representatives will not be cowed into hurried passage of the PIB in view of the technical and strategic nature of the Bill which seeks to redirect Nigeria's oil sector.

He said, "We don't want a quick passage; we want a proper passage, a thorough meticulous passage. Don't forget that the petroleum industry is a technical industry; the fact that you are a legislator does not automatically mean you must know everything. That is why you have consultants, so there is nothing like quick passage."

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