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Senate Backs N35bn Oloibiri Oil Field Contact

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Senate has commended the federal government for the conceptualization, design and award of N35billion contract for the establishment of the Oil and Gas Research Centre and Museum, OGRCM in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, the first oil field in Nigeria to promote tourism and improve the socio-economic well-being of the people.

 

The Upper chamber however, urge the government to give priority attention to the development of heritage institutions like Oloibiri oil field as a constant contact reminder and enrichment of the history of the country’s socio-economic development.

 

Consequently it directed the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF and the concerned contractors to mobilize to site, commence the immediate construction of the OGRCM in Oloibiri.

 

These resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion on the need to ensure immediate commencement of the first oil field by Senator Degi-Eremienyo W. Biobarakuma (PDP Bayelsa East) and co-sponsored by 28 other lawmakers during plenary, also mandated its relevant committees to carry out intensive oversight on the development of the project.

 

Presenting the motion, Biobarakuma informed that the first oil well in the country was discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri by the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC on January 15,1956 with a production capacity of 5,100 barrels per day.

 

The lawmaker, who noted that “export of crude oil from the Oloibiri field started in 1958 and shortly after, crude oil became the main stay of the economy”, added that “consequently, changing Nigeria’s oil history haven launched the country into the elite club of oil producers astronomically increased her foreign exchange earnings.”

 

About 63 years after the discovery, he lamented that “exploitation and production of crude oil, the Oloibiri field and surrounding host communities had suffered neglect and environmental degradation.”

 

Biobarakuma recalled that the idea to build a world class museum of oil and gas, with foundation stone equally laid by President Shehu Shagari in 1983 and another one

by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001, the progress of the project was however halted while the area continued to suffer neglect.

 

The lawmaker also informed that despite the Act later presented by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to establish the National Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre in Oloibiri and recommended its construction with budgetary allocation from the federal government under the management of the National Commission for Museum and Monuments, NCMM, “no progress was made being a clear case of neglect and abandonment.”

 

He was further worried that the project still remains moribund after the government removed it from the NCMM to the PTDF in 2011.

 

Biobarakuma added that the contract for the Oloibiri oil field as re-awarded by the PTDF at N35billion is yet to commence, leaving the host communities with negative memories of oil exploration and production.

 

Contributing to the motion, Senators George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East), Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC Kwara Central), Abdullahi Barkiya (APC Katsina Central) and Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP Akwa-Ibom North West), noted that the host communities had suffered neglect for decades and urged the government to ensure that the new project is not abandoned.

 

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Assent to CAMA Act, Result of Harmonious Relationship Between NASS and the Executive- Senate Spokesman

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The Senate has said that the signing into law of the Companies and Allied Matters (repeal and Re-enactment)Act, 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari was a testimony to the harmonious working relationship between the 9th National Assembly and Executive arm of the government.

Recall that President Buhari on Friday assented to the Companies and Allied Matters (repeal and Re-enactment) Act bill, 2020 into law thereby bringing a 30year old agitation to create legal framework in line with modern business practice in Nigeria to an end.

The Senate in a press statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by its Spokesman and Public Affairs Committee Chairman, Senator Bashiru Ajibola said the assent of the President was“Cheering news.”

The statement reads in part:

“The Senate today received the cheering news that President Mohammed Buhari (GCFR) has assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Act Bill. By assenting the bill, Mr. President has completed the final stage in the legislative process for the formal enactment of the Act repealing and replacing the 30-year legislation.

“The assent by Mr. President to this very important piece of legislation has further demonstrated the cordial relationship between the National Assembly and the Presidency, and is also a validation by the President of the efforts of the National Assembly in providing the needed legislative interventions for the resuscitation of the nation’s economy.

“The intendment of the amendment as passed by the Senate and House of Representatives was to strengthen the legal framework for the incorporation of companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, registration of business names together with incorporation of trustees of certain communities, bodies, associations; and incidental matters to address several corporate legal innovations geared towards enhancing ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“It is not in doubt that the provisions of the repealed Act had become very obsolete and therefore could not effectively address challenges being faced by companies and incorporated trustees such as business rescue for insolvent companies and the merger of Incorporated Trustees for associations that share similar aims and objectives.

“It is gratifying to note that the new Act provides for innovating processes and procedures to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing Statements of Compliance; replacing “authorised share capital” with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies; and providing for electronic filing, electronic share transfers, e-meetings as well as remote general meetings for private companies in response to the disruptions to close contact physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Others include the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency.

Also the Senate Spokesman said that the Senate and indeed the 9th National Assembly was not relenting in its avowed efforts to deploy quality legislative inputs to improve the living conditions of Nigerians and cushion the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ajibola stated that the Senate aside from passing the CAMA Act “has demonstrated commitment to legislative interventions to reposition the Nigerian economy, particular to cushion the disruptions occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic. It has recently passed a new Banks and Other Financial Institutions Bill, Railways Bill, Police Bill amongst others legislations waiting concurrence by the House of Representatives and assent by Mr. President.

He promised Nigerians that “the Senate and indeed the 9th National Assembly will continue in line with its constitutional mandate to make laws for the ‘peace, order and good governance’ of the Federation and accord the executive the necessary legislative cooperation that will promote and sustain the wellbeing and security of the citizenry as well as the prosperity of Nigeria.”

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National Assembly Will Not Be Distracted- Senate President, Lawan

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Monday declared that he and his colleagues in the ninth National Assembly will not allow any distraction from their focus.

 

Lawan spoke when a delegation of leaders and traditional rulers from Oke-Ogun in Oyo State paid a courtesy call on him.

 

The delegation, led by the Aseyin of Iseyin, Dr Abdul Ganiyu and facilitated by Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, was in Abuja to attend a public hearing on a bill for the establishment of a Federal University of Technology in Oke-Ogun.

 

Spokesman for the delegation, Ahmed Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the courtesy call was to thank the Senate President for his support for the bill.

 

Responding to remarks by Raji, the Senate President said: “We here in the National Assembly, especially this Assembly, have promised Nigeria that this Ninth National Assembly will work for Nigerians and that is our direction.

 

“That is our trajectory. We are not looking sideways or back and forth. We know what we are going for to make Nigeria better and in doing that, we will not allow ourselves to be distracted.

 

“We believe that every part of this country must have a tertiary educational institution and it is only fair that Oke-Ogun zone has one.

 

“We believe that opportunities for our teaming youth to go to tertiary institutions must be provided. At the moment, we don’t have enough spaces and therefore a Federal University of Technology in Oke-Ogun will be a welcome idea.

 

“And I want to assure you that the President himself believes in fairness and justice. We will do our part and I want to assure you without sounding like the spokesperson for the president, the President will also play his role positively by the Grace of God.”

 

Raji said out of about 30 Federal institutions in Oyo State, none was cited in Oke-Ogun zone which has about 60 percent of the landmass and 10 out of the 33 Local Governments in the state.

 

“We want to plead with the Senate President to help us see to it that this bill is passed and not only for the bill to be signed into law but that the implementation is also done,” Raji said.

 

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Insecurity: Lawan, Gbajabiamila to Meet President Buhari 

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, will meet with President Buhari to discuss security challenges arising from the activities of Boko Haram insurgents and bandits in parts of the country.

 

The resolution to so do was reached after the Senate considered a motion on the resurgence of killings in Borno North by Boko Haram insurgents.

 

The motion was sponsored by Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC – Borno North); and Co-sponsored by Senators Kashim Shettima (APC – Borno Central); and Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South).

 

Kyari while relying on order 42 and 52 of the Senate standing rules, lamented the killing of ninety persons – which included women and children – on  Tuesday 9th June, 2020, by Boko Haram insurgents following an attack on Foduma Kolum village of Gubio Local Government.

 

The lawmaker who further bemoaned the resurgence of what he described as “senseless killings” by the insurgents in recent weeks, said seventeen people were killed in Gajiagana, Magimeri local government on 17th May, 2020; and another thirty-three persons killed in Nganzai local government on 22nd May, 2020.

 

According to him, “these attacks are becoming very worrisome in view of the fact that the Nigerian Armed Forces recently started recording successes in the fight against insurgency.”

 

Kyari raised alarm that, “these attacks which have led to the massacre of hundreds of people, also includes other Winona acts such as cattle rustling, kidnapping, abduction and forceful displacement of people from their ancestral communities.”

 

He further expressed concern that “with the coming of the rains and farming season, the land is terribly insecure with marauding insurgents at bay. The consequences of food shortage can better be imagined.”

 

Senator Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South), in his contribution, lamented the inability of the Armed Forces to completely cripple insurgent activities in the North-East.

 

He, therefore, called on the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and his counterpart in the House of Representatives to meet with President Buhari to discuss the spate of insecurity in northern Nigeria.

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks said, “Boko Haram has metamorphosed from a group of religious zealots into an industry. It is an industry because what they do is not religious. They have people from different faiths and countries who are part of Boko Haram.

 

“This Senate passed so many resolutions including the reports of the various Ad-Hoc Committees we set up on Security but the problem persists.”

 

“I don’t want to say meeting the President is something that we have to reveal if we do, but of course it is natural that issues like this will be of interest for us to discuss with the President, and we have been doing that.

 

“What is necessary is for us to persist. Our Armed Forces have their challenges, and therefore, we will continue to look at those challenges and try to address them.

 

“Where however anybody is found wanting, our stand should be that people should occupy offices based on their performance.

 

“There’s no point if somebody is not registering successes for such person to continue to be there, but that is if you give that person the necessary tools to fight. So, we should give them the necessary tools and then we hold them accountable.

 

“We will do that in addition to of course meeting Mr. President, it is not going to be the Senate President, I’ll make sure that I have my colleague in the House of Representatives because this is a national question”, Lawan said.

 

Accordingly, the  Senate in its resolutions urged the Federal Government to direct, as a matter of urgency, the Nigerian Armed Forces and relevant security agencies to beef up personnel and equipment deployment to critical areas especially in and around the Lake Chad shores in order to flush out the insurgents.

 

The Upper chamber urged the Federal Government to direct the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to immediately send relief materials to the victims of these attacks.

 

The Senate also urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the implementation of the recommendations of the “Report of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Nigeria Security Challenges: Need to Restructure, Review, and are-Organize the Current Security Architecture” as way of addressing the nations current security challenges.

 

The Senate observed a one-minute silence to mourn those who lost their lives in the attacks by insurgents.

 

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