BY LAWRENCE ETIM.
It has been a little over a year that the Senate mandated the Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream) and Gas to carry out further legislation on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), yesterday the Senate had no other alternative but to order the committee to conclude work on the bill and return it to the chamber for prompt passage.
David Mark, the Senate President while giving the marching order yesterday also asked the Joint Committee on Finance and Upstream Petroleum which had been mandated to investigate the Malabu Oil deal since July last year to expedite action and report findings to the chamber for prompt consideration.
Mark’s order yesterday followed a point of order raised by Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi (Ekiti North) over a recent attack on the chamber by unnamed groups of professionals who accused the Senate of lack of commitment to issues of national importance.
It would be recalled that PIB was committed to the committee since March 7 last year. Therefore, if the National Assembly had passed the PIB bill, the nation would have been spared the protracted rots in the industry.
While challenging his colleagues to be alive to their responsibilities especially when such issues affect the economy, Adetumbi avers that as senators, they were duty bound to understand the volume of privileges and responsibilities placed on their shoulders, that as parliamentarians they were expected to be sensitive to issues affecting the economy. He explained that failure to conclude assignments on PIB and Malabu oil deal was embarrassing to Senate’s reputation.
Adetumbi recalled, “I was at a public event a week ago. I was the only senator in the midst of many professionals including other professionals from the international community. I came under severe attacks of intense questioning about some unfinished businesses in the chamber that they believe are affecting the economy. In particular, I was put on a spot to explain to the gentlemen why the PIB is not attended to in the Senate and how the non-passage of that bill is responsible”.
Mark while upholding Adetumbi’s point of order, asked the committee to hasten action on their assignments and report back without further delay. The PIB is aimed at salvaging the oil sector.