By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The Senate has ordered its committees handling the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the controversial sale of OPL 245 to Malabu Oil to expedite work in order to lay the matters to rest.
The two standing committees, Petroleum Upstream Committee and Finance Committee were mandated to investigate the alleged sale of an oil block, OPL 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited at the cost of $1.092billion (about N178.812billion) by the federal government.
This is coming on the heels of the adoption of the House of Representatives report on Malabu Oil on Tuesday.
The Senate President, Sen. David Mark, gave the matching order to the committees while ruling on a point of order raised by Senator Adetunde Olubumi, who informed the senate that the Italian and Netherlands governments as well as the EU parliaments are about concluding public investigations on the Malabu oil deal that would be made public very soon.
Sen Olubunmi said: “The issue of Malabu oil was also raised at that gathering. Upon coming back, I had to check my proceedings and l found that PIB after debate was committed to the appropriate committee in this chamber on March 7, 2013. It will be exactly one year next month. Up till now, there seems to be nothing going on. The Malabu oil was committed to a committee in this Senate in July.
“It will interest this Senate that an international extractive advocacy group in Europe did a letter dated July 5, 2013 to Italian and Netherlands governments requesting for public investigation of the roles of companies from their countries and to the European Union (EU).
“As l speak, the Italian and Netherlands governments and the EU parliaments are about concluding public investigations that would be made public very soon. I feel as a senator, we should know what is going on so that the reputation of this parliament as an institution is not called to question.
“I feel a situation where the report of EU parliament on issues that affect out economy is made public and our own apex parliament is not seemed to be doing what it should do one year after, it will affect all of us collectively. That is why as a senator l need to receive explanation from this Senate so that if l find myself in the public, l should be able to speak intelligently so that l will not be embarrassed.”
After the submission, Senate President, Senator David Mark called on the committees to expedite action on the two issues raised by Senator Adetunmbi.
Meanwhile, Senator Sulaimon Adokwe called on Judiciary to make a renowned pronouncement on the issue of defection from one political party to another among legislators.
Adokwe said that though it has already been stated in the constitution that any lawmaker that defects from one Political party to another will definitely loose his seat.
According to him, the issue of defection is not a new thing, it almost causing disruption and shaking in the polity. But things are back to normal because of right steps we have taking. I don’t think we have come to an end of it. Defection is common when we are approaching election.
The Senate also confirmed Col. Umaru Faruk Ahmed as a member of the Governing board of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and passed the National Automotive Design and Development council Bill2014.