14 March 2013, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Wednesday warned the House Ad hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) to avoid temptations to jeopardize the efforts of the House to provide a viable law for the petroleum industry.
Tambuwal gave the warning yesterday while inaugurating the ad hoc committee on PIB headed by the Chief Whip, Hon. Ishaaka Bawa(PDP-Taraba).
The Speaker urged the members of the committee to stick their work schedule and mandate from the House and avoid pitfalls that would rubbish the integrity of the House.
He said, “Let me remind all the members of this Committee that the assignment before you is critical, sensitive and demanding. It will not be an overstatement to say that the biggest activities in the country’s oil sector now is the wait for the Petroleum Industry Act. It means then that you must do a good job.”
He warned further that, “From the tempo of public discourse, it should be obvious to all and sundry that there is high level of interest as well as expectations on the Petroleum Industry Bill from various interest groups both within the country as well as the international community. I therefore need not emphasize on the need for absolute circumspection, diligence, transparency and patriotism on the part of the Committee”.
The Speaker noted that, “As you are already aware, your mandate is to facilitate the delivery to the people of Nigeria and indeed the global oil industry, a legislation that addresses most comprehensively, the hiccups that have encumbered Nigeria’s oil sector and constrained optimal operations and returns: issues of environmental degradation, general operational inefficiency, outright fraud as well as insecurity of investment and infrastructure.”
He added that, “I have had the opportunity of perusing your overall work plan and I am confident that if you stick to it you will be on your way to delivering the quality of document that Nigerians expect. I note with satisfaction the proposal to take public hearings to the grassroots which in line with the operational spirit of the House of Representatives whose mandate you hold.
“Besides, commencing with a Retreat designed to enhance understanding of the Bill by the Committee is no doubt a step in the right direction. I should also caution that with the demanding nature of the task before you and high stake interest and expectations lies the glittering but slippery line of integrity test. When you encounter it do not take a second look, do not slow down, do not stop but rather flee because it is outside the scope of your mandate”, he warned.
He added with the prayer that “May the Almighty God grant you the wisdom and strength to come out of this assignment with greater honour and integrity than you now possess”.
He charge the committee “therefore to avail yourselves the rich bank of information and know how that exists not just at home but globally. You will recall, for instance, that in 2008 the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua also submitted a Bill to this House on the subject which was quite detailed in its conception every clause of the bill came with an explanatory note and it will not be out of place to avail yourselves of the substance therein”.
According to the Speaker, “knowledge of the legal regime in other jurisdictions would enrich the process. You will do well to place at the back of your minds that you are working a legislation not just for today but also for tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow. Accordingly therefore, it is important to reflect on the future position of oil in the global economy where the craving for alternative energy sources is on the rise with speedy advances in technology and beckoning possibilities. It is imperative that the law keeps pace.
“I have had the opportunity of perusing your overall work plan and I am confident that if you stick to it you will be on your way to delivering the quality of document that Nigerians expect”.
Investigative hearings and other businesses of the House have been dogged and dashed by scandals and some cases of bribe-taking by some lawmakers since 1999.