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Reps rejects PIB presented by President Jonathan

Members of the House of Representatives yesterday rejected the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), describing President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to send the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), on the eve of their two-month recess, as mischievous and  a calculated attempt to blackmail them.

They also reacted to Wednesday’s reinstatement by the Presidency of Ms. Arunma Oteh as Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), saying the move undermined the legislature and therefore be reversed. They claimed that with the weighty allegation hanging on the neck of the suspended DG, SEC, she ought not to have been recalled

House Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabimiala, (Lagos/ACN), had appealed to his colleagues to return the controversial PIB to the president for re-presentation, when they resume in mid-September. Keeping the Bill for two months, he argued, would create the impression that the lawmakers were behind the delay, thereby pitching them against the masses.

“I wonder why it, (PIB), was brought on the day we are going on vacation. We will not be back until September. The people out there will be saying that Mr. President has done his work but the House of Representatives is delaying,” Gbajabimiala argued. House Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal clarified that the president was duly informed of the lawmakers’ annual recess, and was surprised that the Bill still came that late.

“In our engagement with the Executive, the Senate President and myself made it clear that we are going on break today (Thursday). The Executive is aware of our calendar. Our understanding with the president is that the PIB was coming in June; this is July. This delay was not in anyway caused by the National Assembly,” he stated.

In the wake of the controversy over the authenticity of the PIB in circulation, said the Speaker, he had advised that 500 and 200 copies of it be supplied to the House and Senate, but that his office got only three copies. The lawmakers, Tambuwal ruled, would begin debate on the Bill when they return from their annual leave on September 17.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers expressed outrage at the Presidency’s reinstatement of Ms. Oteh as D-G of SEC. They maintained that the reinstatement ran against their findings and should be reversed. Adopting the report of its ad-hoc committee on the near collapse of the capital market, the legislators resolved that Oteh’s appointment be terminated forthwith as Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission, as her appointment was in violation of Sections of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007.

The 83-page report, among other things, “held that Oteh had shown incompetence in the management of human and material resources at her disposal in Security and Exchange Commission; lack of transparency in managing Project 50, regulatory failure in some of the recent mergers, acquisitions and approvals of transactions by Security and Exchange Commission and general inability to carry along her staff, board and management in decision making in at the commission, and questionable staff recruitment policies.”

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