Petroleum Industry Bill scales second reading in Nigerian Senate

President of the Senate, David Mark

After much dilly dallying senate gives PIB a second passage.

The controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, that aroused tension at the senate, dividing lawmakers along ethnic lines, has been given a second passage.

The Senate approved that the bill be read the second time on Thursday, ahead of committee considerations, and a final reading.

Lawmakers have been divided over the stipulation of a 10 per cent community fund for oil producing communities, powers of the petroleum minister, and the provisions for the exploration for oil elsewhere outside the Niger Delta.

The discussions split the senators along North and South (Nigeria) divide. But, the lawmakers gradually closed ranks as they concluded discussions on Thursday.

Previous versions of the bill, came close to passing in the last session of the National Assembly in 2011, before being dumped at the level of clause-by-clause consideration.

The Senate President, David Mark, said his colleagues showed maturity by finding ways around the contentious areas of the current bill, and gradually easing the tension at the start of the debates on Tuesday.

“Many Nigerians thought we will leave here with our clothes torn and boxing each other, but today, we showed maturity by thinking as nationalists,” he said.

The bill has been referred for consideration to committees on petroleum upstream, petroleum downstream, gas, judiciary and legal matters.

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