National Assembly resumes, confronts PIB, others issues

Cifford Ndujihe & Henry Umoru

18 September 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA—TWO months of annual recess over, members of Nigeria’s National Assembly will resume today to be confronted by a mountain of issues awaiting deliberation.

Among the issues are: the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, N1.7trillion oil subsidy controversy, N700 billion pension scam, 2013 budget, which may be presented today, controversies trailing poor implementation of the 2012 budget for which the House of Representatives threatened to commence impeachment moves against President Goodluck Jonathan unless he has ensured 100 per cent implementation of the budget.

Senators will also be confronted with screening of new ministerial nominees for Defence and Power following the sack of the former Minister and past Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed and the resignation of Prof. Barth Nnaji respectively.

The lawmakers would have to take a decision on the proposed introduction of N5,000 note and conversion of N20, N10 and N5 into coins by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, with the support of the executive arm of government. The Senate Committee on Banking asked the CBN to put the policy on hold but the apex bank insisted that there was no going back.

The matter may put the executive and legislative arms of government on a collision course. A stormy session will be expected at the plenary against the backdrop that some senators may be against it while some will support, though the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Institutions, Senator Basssey Edet Otu, PDP, Cross River South had asked the apex bank to drop the proposal.

The legislators are expected to take action on the $5 billion fine it ordered Shell to pay over environmental pollution in Ogoni, Rivers State in the Niger Delta region.

For Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, PDP, Rivers South-East, he must have used the holiday to prepare the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Appropriation and Finance that investigated how much was spent and who collected what from the N1.7tr oil subsidy.

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