The Senate, on Thursday has passed the conference report of the National Assembly on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The Conference Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the PIB, in its report adopted the 3 per cent for oil producing communities as trust fund, which was passed by the red chamber last week.
The two chambers of the National Assembly, had recently passed conflicting per cent shares for the oil producing communities. While the Senate passed 3 per cent the House of Representatives passed 5 per cent.
Following the differences, the reports of both chambers was passed on to the conference committee for harmonization before President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent.
However, the conference committee in its report has adopted the Senate version of the PIB.
The report of the committe was presented during plenary on Thursday by Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, who represents Kebbi North Senatorial District.
However, the plenary turned to a rowdy session as south-south lawmakers raised serious objections on the 3 per cent share adopted by the conference committee.
The New Diplomat had reported that the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) had demanded the National Assembly to consider 10 per cent shareholding for the oil communities.
While raising objections, Senators George Sekibo and Seriake Dickson raised concerns over the approval, saying that their views were not accommodated by the leadership of the House.
Senator Sekibo argued that he was not part of the vote on the allocation clause, adding that he should be given his chance, while Senator Dickson stated that his privilege had been breached as his views were not accommodated. He also threatened to lead his colleagues to stage a walkout.
However, Senate President Ahmad Lawan turned down the demands of the Senators. Lawan said the Senate had already taken a resolution on the matter and could not go back on its decision.
The Senate also passed the Conference Committee report on the frontiers basins development for oil exploration.
The committee adopted the 30% approved for frontier basins development for oil exploration as approved by the Senate last week.
The New Diplomat had reported that the 30 per cent funding mechanism approved for oil exploration in the frontier basins, majorly in the north by the upper legislative chamber is to come from NNPC limited’s oil and gas profit in the production sharing, profit sharing, and risk service contracts, something that several CSOs and environmental activists in the country have described as a deployment of scarce resources on a wild goose chase in search for oil in ‘unlikely places’ amid the existential threat of climate change.