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JUST IN: Reps step down PIB after disagreement on host communities allocation

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Following a rowdy session over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the House of Representatives has stepped down the bill in a bid to address the grievances raised by lawmakers particularly those from the Southern region of the country during deliberation on the floor of the house.

The grievances raised by the lawmakers that resulted in a rowdy session was the percentage of allocation to be set aside for the host communities in the oil-producing region of the country.

Trouble was said to have started after some lawmakers protested over the alleged reduction in the approved percentage accruing to host communities and their claims were rejected by their colleagues that considered their demands unacceptable.

Before Thursday’s seating, the house had earlier voted 5 percent for host communities in the PIB earlier passed while the Senate passed 3 percent, a stance that required harmonisation between both chambers.

During harmonization, the leadership of both chambers agreed that they toe the line of the senate on benefits that go to the host communities in the oil-producing region, in order to prevent uproar from other regions that have mineral resources which also generate revenue for Nigeria.

However, a PDP lawmaker, Chinyere Igwe, created a scene when he protested by shouting on top of her voice over the alleged reduction of the percentage for host communities from 5 percent to 3 percent after the conference committee of both the Senate and the House of Representatives harmonized the document.

Even when the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, arrived at the chamber and took his seat, the rowdy session persisted forcing the Speaker to ask the House to go for an executive session.

And on resumption from recess, Gbajabiamila announced that the bill has been stepped down pending deliberation with all stakeholders to get their support on the bill.

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