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Legislators suspend proceedings in NASS as oil communities clash at PIB public hearing

The PIB Public Hearing in the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, FCT

*The Nigerian lawmakers have suspended proceedings on the pending Petroleum Industry Bill in House of Representatives, as oil-communities clashed, and other participants started scampering for safety with proceedings suspended

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Amid the proceedings while the oil-producing communities were making presentations on the long-standing Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), pandemonium broke out Thursday, January 28 as lawmakers and other participants started scampering for safety in the House of Representatives at the National Assembly (NASS) Complex, in Abuja, FCT.

Room 028 of the House of Representatives, venue of the public hearing on the PIB, was thrown into pandemonium, following a fight by some attendants, Vanguard report said.

The individuals were said to be members of the oil-bearing communities in Nigeria, who had come to make presentations on the bill.

It was gathered the combat erupted exactly 12:10 p.m. when Hon. Mohammed Monguno, Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee on PIB, who had been moderating the proceedings, called the host communities to make their presentations.

As the fight broke out, lawmakers and other participants started scampering for safety with proceedings suspended.

Hitherto, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, had expressed disappointment with the inability of successive administrations in the country to ensure the passage of the same PIB into law.

Gbajabiamila Wednesday said: “It is disappointing and frankly difficult to explain how successive governments have failed to deliver on the promise of reform despite this broad agreement.

“For a long time, we have known that this critical national industry underperforms its potential and our national expectations.

“For the most part, we all agree on the need for legislative action to make improvements through statutory and regulatory reform.”

However, the 8th Assembly was able to pass a part of the bill after it was divided into three distinct bills, namely the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB), 2016; the Host Communities Entitlement and Protection Bill, 2016; and the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill.

The 8th National Assembly later passed the PIGB, but President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to it, report stated.

A harmonised bill was forwarded to the National Assembly September 2020 and the House passed the bill for second reading in November 2020.

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