[FILES] President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan (left), and Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege. Photo/facebook/DrAhamdLawan1
Senate Committee Chairman on Public Accounts, Matthew Urhoghide, yesterday, said an amendment to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) would be carried out by the Senate once it resumes from its recess following the condemnation that trailed the ceding of three per cent to host communities in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The senator representing Edo South Senatorial District disclosed this in Benin City, Edo State while fielding questions from journalists.
He said: “When we get back, the PIA is going to probably get the first attention of amendment. Any law, no matter how new it is, once it is signed into law, somebody can call for the amendment of the PIA when we resume. It will go through the first and second reading, then to the committee for further legislative action and public hearing. And if it succeeds, it goes through a third hearing and once it is passed, it goes to the President for the amendment of the PIA.
“So, we are expecting that because of the hues and cry of the Niger Deltans, the president will probably send it back to the National Assembly and it will go by way of substantive motion back on the floor to say that bill that was passed into law needs amendment and we can now reopen it. The president has already signed it and can only come by way of an amendment to the act.”
He noted that although the bill had been signed into law by the president, there was still a lot of optimism about the amount of money that the oil companies would bring to the host communities.
“We didn’t have it before. Now that we have it, how do we administer the money? Is it not going to go through state governments anymore? Will, there will be interference and that is why in the constitution of the Host Community Trust Fund Committee, who and who will be there because the investors will oversee it? There will be a need for assessment for everything that will be done with the money. Certainly, we want the money for the communities,” he noted.
Commenting on the amendment of the Electoral Act, he said: “For an amendment to the Electoral Act, the area that was contentious was the electronic transmission of results from the polling units to the collation centres.
“People can truly express their wish through the ballot at the polling unit but the point between the polling units and the collation is where the problem lies. It is either the Electoral Officers introduce new result sheets on the way or they change figures.
“So, we said it should be transmitted electronically from the unit to the server even if you have to do physical collation, the results will be there. But what has played out was party politics.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already said they have the capacity and they don’t need to go to NCC. Section 78 of the Electoral Act is very clear that INEC is independent and doesn’t take instructions from the National Assembly neither will it take instructions from the NCC.”