From Fred Itua, Abuja
ATTEMPTS by the Senate to begin formal debate on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), yesterday, failed following strong opposition from senators mostly from the Southern part of the country.
The lawmakers kicked against the Second Reading of the PIB on grounds that the usual procedure where copies of a bill for debate in the chamber were always circulated to members ahead of time, was not followed.
Speaking through the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, the senators insisted that copies of the bill be circulated to all members to study ahead of the formal debate so that they make useful contributions.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who presided at plenary, agreed that the debate be stood down, even though he said Senator Omotayo Alasoadura from Ondo State who presented the bill, be allowed to read it. Earlier, Akpabio said: “Without belabouring the issue, I come under Order 43. I believe we are discussing the economy of Nigeria. Since 1960, the mainstay of the economy of this country has been crude oil and, therefore, the PIB is such an important bill that will affect people suffering in this country.
“And, that will affect even the budget of the Federal Government that we are doing today. It is not the kind of bill that we can stay here and gloss over and then allow somebody to lead a debate without senators having the bill in their hands…” The Sun