08 March 2013, Abuja – The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) on Thursday scaled the second reading considered most crucial in the life of a bill on the floor of the Nigerian Senate.
This of followed concerted efforts by Senators from the South- South led by Senators Ita Enang and Victor Ndoma-Egba.
This move implies that the most controversial bill may be on its way to passage into a law of the land within the next few months.
The Senate also approved the Bill during the third sitting today for the Committee Stage where it is expected to be perfected and tabled for a vote.
Senators from the Northern had vowed to frustrate the passage of the bill, claiming that an additional 10 percent derivation for oil-producing states was unjust to other parts of the country.
But, speaking on the floor of the Senate, Senator Ita Enang observed that 83 per cent of oil blocks in the country are owned by Northerners.
“There should be equity and federal character in the allocation of oil blocks in this country. Eighty-three per cent of all present oil blocks are held by northerners,” Enang said without any of the senior lawmakers contradicting him.
Enang therefore demanded a review of oil block licences in the country even as other senators from the South urged him on.
His disclosures came a day after the debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill had split the senators along North-South lines.
The senators held a rowdy session as those from the north stoutly opposed the provision of 10 per cent Host Community Fund in the bill.
The provision requires operating companies in the Niger Delta, home to Nigeria ’s vast oil resource, to pay 10 per cent of their net profits to the fund for the development of the communities.