CHIEF Whip of the House of Representatives, Ishaka Bawa, has informed that the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, would be taken to the six geo-political zones of the country for all Nigerians to have their input.
Bawa, who is also the adhoc committee Chairman on PIB, in a chat with journalists, weekend, said the bill was for all Nigerians, adding that the seventh Assembly would do everything within its power to ensure that Nigerians had a feel of it before it became law.
He said: “Since the setting up of the Committee, a lot of background work has taken place before it was inaugurated last Wednesday.
”We have carefully drawn up a comprehensive work plan for the committee which comprises members’ retreat scheduled to take place from the 18th to 20th of this month in Lagos.
”This will be followed by public hearings in the six geo-political zones with the grand finale in Abuja on dates to be announced in due course.
”The essence of the Zonal Public hearings is to bring the process to the door-steps of the people at the grass- roots, especially the oil producing communities, whose views will be a critical factor in packaging the kind of Petroleum Industry Law that will address not only elitist concerns, but also the other crucial issues concerning the environment as well as human development.
”The grand finale in Abuja wiil provide other stakeholders the opportunity to present their own perspectives on the bill.
”Other citizens and stakeholders not able to attend the public hearings can articulate their positions via memoranda to the Committee.
On the Committee’s modus operandi, Bawa said everything shall be transparent and all views shall be collated and accorded equal value.
”The Committee’s final report and recommend- ations shall be reflective of the aggregate views of Nigerians. The House of Representatives has no fixed or hidden agenda on the Petroleum Industry Bill and accordingly this Committee will be so guided in this assignment,” he said.
”In the final analysis, we would have struck a delicate but necessary balance between overriding national interests on the one hand and the need to make our oil industry attractive to foreign investments on the other.
”The need for this balance has become even more imperative since Nigeria and a few countries in Africa no longer have the monopoly they hitherto enjoyed in oil export.