The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, says the National Assembly is ready to confront and defeat the demons that have militated against the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by passing the legislation this year.
Lawan spoke on the bill during a brief ceremony to mark his 62nd birthday organised by his aides in Abuja, described the PIB as a demon that must be confronted and defeated.
“PIB is like a demon. People both within and outside the country are ready to work against it as they have been doing for the past 14 years but the Ninth Senate and by extension, the Ninth National Assembly, will defeat the demon with the current bill before both Chambers.
He said the patriotic zeal, sheer determination and unity of purpose by serving senators across party lines, to do this latest by the end of first quarter of this year, will be deployed on the bill immediately the Senate resumes on 26th of this month the way it did with Deep Offshore Oil Production Sharing Contracts Act (Amendment) Bill.
“By the grace of God, when we resume, we will start work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). That is going to be one heck of a legislation that not only Nigeria but the entire world is waiting for, because that will change our economy.
“I said for once, they should allow us to do something for our country. And I laughed and said, you are not going anywhere. The kind of thing you do in this country, where else in the world will you be allowed to do that? So we are going to do this amendment. They thought it was a joke, in a week we finished the amendment because the House of Representatives was on recess, the day they returned, they concurred.
“Mr. President knew how important that amendment was, he was in London and that bill was flown to him and he signed it on a Sunday just to give that amendment the validity that was needed.
“That we lost billions of naira where we are supposed to be given $2 billion every year from the last 20 years, they were giving us $216 million. But from last year, after the amendment, it is now $2 billion.
“We are not going to be selfish that only Nigeria should have, yes, because the resources are here, we must get the benefits of the resources here.
“The IOCs who are here will also benefit from their investments, in fact, oil is everywhere now so we have to have legislation that will create a very competitive environment so that we can get investors in oil and gas from Ghana, from Angola, from Algeria, all to move to Nigeria.
“We promised Nigerians that we are going to achieve that by the grace of God in the year 2021,” Lawan said.