The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has asked Nigerians to appreciate the effort of the National Assembly in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Naija News reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the controversial bill into law on Monday despite the agitations from some South-South stakeholders for more funds to be allocated to host communities.
In a statement on Wednesday by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate President said the 9th Assembly eventually passed the bill after it had suffered a lot of hiccups.
The statement noted that Lawan made this known shortly after a brief ceremony at the Presidential Villa where the President announced the setting up of an implementation Committee for the new law.
He said: “I believe that this is one very historic and important moment for us as a National Assembly, this Ninth National Assembly and of course a very historic moment for this administration led by President Buhari.
“This is something that previous administrations tried and as hard as they tried, they could not do it. This is one Bill that saw the faces of so many people between the executive and the legislature in the past and yet it could not be passed.
“The ninth National Assembly, by the Grace of God, had done the magic and the President had signed it and today we have a Petroleum Industry Act.”
Lawan acknowledged the agitation for more funds for oil-bearing communities, noting that their agitation will be further addressed.
He noted that the host communities have suffered enough, adding that there should be no excuses for anybody to tamper with their money.
“The host communities are winners as well. It may not be necessarily exactly what some of them had hoped. But you know from zero to over $500 million and with time, such issues will be further addressed but I want to also caution that it is not the $500 million that is more but how we are able to prudently and transparently deploy this $500 million in the host communities.
“This time around, there should be no excuses for anybody to tamper with this money. The host communities have suffered enough, even when NDDC was established, I’m sure it was established because of the host communities’ issues and yet the host communities did not get much attention.
“This time, the host communities have been specifically mentioned and these funds should go there. We want to see people who will be appointed, taking this as trust and do what is right.
“Of course, there will be so much employment and jobs especially in the midstream of the value chain. This midstream has not been in existence so to speak. What we have is the upstream and then, the downstream. When our refineries will be better and more will be established, I’m sure the value chain will have opportunity for more Nigerians to have jobs and so on,” he said.