It’ll be uncharitable for anyone to work against signing of PIB into Law —Senate spokesman
senator (Dr ) Ajibola Basiru.
. PIB: $500m fund will be utilised to transform oil, gas communities ― Host Communities
By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Ajibola Basiru at the weekend said that it will be unfair for anyone to work against the signing of the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
The lawmaker who said that it’s uncharitable for any Senator to discourage President Muhammadu Buhari from signing the Bill into law said that the 3 per cent earmarked for the host communities in the bill will account for over $523.8 million.
The lawmaker who represents Osun central senatorial district in the Senate made the disclosure in Ilorin while speaking with journalists.
He said, “I will not say that it will jeopardize the entire process and I’m saying with a sense of responsibility that it will be uncharitable for any legislature to say that the president should not sign because of 3% Petroleum OPEC of host community requirement.
“That amount 3% although looks very easy to call but it amounts to 523.8 million dollars annually.
“So, are we saying that the president should not allow the host community to earn that amount of money with the prospect of possible improvement on that amount in the nearest future and of course aside from the 3 per cent to the host community.
“By section 104 of subsection 4 of Petroleum Industry Bill as pass, the penalty for gas firing also expressly is provided that we go to the host community for environmental remediation and the welfare of the host community.
“So I think the legislature in question is only taking the position in isolation and it’s also oblivious of the fact about the benefit the community will realize from the rejuvenated competitive oil and gas market.
“And I believe that democracy is all about majority and of course as a southern senator, our position was 5% but because of the conviction that our oil and gas market must be competitive and we also believe that there must be a stepping point for the past thirteen years or so that we have been on this Petroleum Industry Bill.
“Since 1965, we have not had any democratically enacted legislation to drive our oil and gas sector. So, I believe this positive development it should not just be thrown overboard because some of us feel strongly about what has been provided for host community provision.
“You cannot throw away the baby with the birth water and that’s my opinion, my view and the view of the majority of the senators”.
The lawmaker also dismissed the recent insinuations from certain quarters that, there was division in the senate chamber during the consideration of the Electoral act amendment bill particularly the clause that has to do with electronic voting and transmission of the election results.
He said that, “I think it’s very important to first set the record straight that, the question of did you vote and what are we voted for must even first be examine because the mischievous and propaganda machinery of the PDP and some unsuspecting members of the media just went to town says APC senators voted against electronic transmission.
“This is far from the truth and very mischievous. In provision – section 52, there are 5 subsections there; the 5 subsections should be looked at holistically and not looked at separately. In subsection 1, it was expressly provided that the INEC have the power to adopt the electronic voting system and of course open secret ballot, there’s no issue about electronic voting.
“When it comes to transmission of the election result, the wordings that was used in section 52 subsection 3 by the Senator Gaya’s Committee was that INEC can transmit election result where and where practicable.
“I’m a legal practitioner, even for a layman when you say where and where practicable, what you are doing is to put unfettered, unbridled and uncontrollable nebulous discretion on INEC to determine into a staccato manner where and when to transmit election result.
“Some of us felt strongly that, we should be able to provide for the possibility of electronic transmission but not the way the Gaya’s Committee drafted the law. So far from it!
“We did not vote against electronic transmission but we said electronic transmission may be adopted where NCC satisfy the security and adequacy of the network coverage to support that and with approval of National Assembly but people just went to town before we left the plenary around 6:30 pm that night that APC senators voted against electronic transmission.
“The wording of what we voted for was that the commission can transmit electronically where the NCC satisfy as to security and coverage of network with the approval of the National Assembly.
He added, “Then the other leg of argument was that it was said that it constitutes an erosion of the independence of INEC.
“There is nothing like absolute independence of any arm of government, even the President will have to submit the budget to the National Assembly. INEC itself will have to submit its budget to the National Assembly.
“Then by item 22 of the Exclusive List; the National Assembly is vested with the power to make law for the election into the office of the President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy-Governor and any other offices created under the law.
“Mode of the election, means of transmitting election and so on and so forth are part of the electoral process which the National Assembly has the power to make law.
“Section 87 that talks about the independence of INEC only talks about INEC independence when the law has been made.
“You cannot for instance direct them on how to conduct their election in line with their Act already made “.