The Nigerian Senate on Thursday dared oil and gas host communities in the country with the passage of the conference report of the National Assembly on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which pegged host communities development trust fund at 3% of the operating expenditure of oil companies.
The leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, had recently described 3% and other provisions in the PIB as satanic, unjust and embarrassing, saying it has dashed the hope of the people of the Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives also on Thursday had to dissolve into an emergency executive session following a shouting match by some lawmakers over the recommended 3% just before the commencement of plenary to consider among others the conference report on the PIB.
The House was divided over report of the Harmonisation Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Hon Chinyere Igwe (Rivers) started the protest on the floor of the House, urging his colleagues and shouting with the documents in his hand that they will not accept the report of the Committee.
Thereafter, other lawmakers from the South-South region joined him raising alarm and opposing the 3% recommendation arrived at by the harmonization Committee from the House and the Senate finally arrived at for the host Communities funds on the PIB.
The rowdy session began at about 12noon before the arrival of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and other principal officers for the day’s plenary.
While the rowdiness continued, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other Principal officials were seen conferring with one another before they finally called for a closed-door session.
Last two weeks, the House had approved 5% as funds for host communities while the Senate’s figure was 3% as against the 10% demanded by the Host Communities.
The House had maintained that they would guard their 5% position jealously.