20 November 2013, Abuja – Vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Senator Kabir Marafa, has explained the reasons for the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB ), insisting that the bill will not be passed in a hurry.
He noted that the importance of the bill is the reason why most Nigerian have expressed fears over the delay in passing the bill.
“The bill is taking too much time to pass because of its importance, it is a very important bill that concerns a very important industry, so you cannot pass such a bill in a haste,” he said.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the Senate has promised to pass the controversial bill before the end of this year.
Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP, Senator Kabir said: “Like the public hearing we conducted today, you cannot say it is not worth doing, we gave three days in the past and after it some communities complained that they were not heard.
“The senate is trying its best, the most important thing is to come up with a piece of legislation that will be acceptable to all Nigerians and most importantly that will better the industry.”
He also stated that what they wanted was what would bring the much needed transparency, efficiency and accountability to the petroleum industry. Contrary to the claims that the northern part of the country is against the passage of the controversial PIB, Senator Kabir Marafa described the claims as false.
Marafa said if the northern senators were against the bill it would not have seen the light of the day due to the fact that there are more northern senators in the National Assembly.
The lawmaker further explained that the north is against some parts of the bill and not the whole bill adding that during the just concluded public hearing some communities in the Niger Delta faulted some aspects of the bill.
He said, “I’m a northerner and I’m not opposed to it. Who are the northerners? If the north is really opposed to it, it wouldn’t have seen the light of the day. There are more senators from the north than from the south and if all the northern senators are opposed to it, it would not have seen the light of the day so I disagree with that.”
“Most of the senators expressed their feelings on specific items in the bill and not the bill as a whole.”
He explained that some host communities are opposed to some aspects of the bill. He said, “There is this community that said they are representing the nine states of the Niger Delta and they said that they are opposed to the powers of the minister as proposed in the bill. They said they are opposed to the continuous 13 per cent derivation going to the states, they want it collapsed, according to them they have not benefitted anything from the NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta”. He said that the host communities want the 13 per cent derivation fund and all other intervention funds collapsed into host community commission where the money will be shared.
On the statement credited to the Kano State governor, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso that passage of the bill will weaken the economy of the north he said, “Kano is not the whole north, I’m part of the north ,to be fair to the governor he only expressed his own opinion and I’m sure he has his reasons”.