The Senate yesterday, urged the Federal Government to direct the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and concerned contractors to begin immediate construction of the oil, gas and research centre at Oloibiri in Bayelsa.
The call is sequel to a motion by Sen. Degi Biobarakuma (PDP Bayelsa) and co -sponsored by 28 other Senators.
The motion centres on the need to ensure immediate commencement of the Oil and Gas Research Centre and Museum in Oloibiri in Bayelsa.
Presenting his lead debate at plenary, Biobarakuma said that 63 years after discovery, exploitation and production of crude oil, the Oloibiri oil field and its surrounding communities had suffered neglect and environmental degradation.
He also said the inhabitants of the area had suffered and some deaths recorded from epidemics and terminal diseases due to oil spills and flaring of natural gas.
The Senator said the national oil gas and research centre was conceptualised given the need to develop great foreign exchange earnings and improve on the living standard of host communities.
Biobarakuma recalled that the designed and foundation stone was laid by ex President Shehu Shegari in 1983, noting that the project was however halted, no sooner than it commenced.
He said the Federal government had removed the project from the National Commission for Museum and Monuments and domiciled it with the PTDF in 2011.
According to him, the project remains moribund, despite the transfer.
He said it was worrisome that the contract, valued at about N35 billion, was yet to be completed, leaving inhabitants of the host communities with negative memories of oil exploration and production.
Senators, who supported the motion include George Sekibo, (PDP Rivers), Ibrahim Oloriebe ( APC Kwara ) among others.
Following affirmative voice vote,the Senate accordingly resolved to commend the Federal government for the conceptualisation,design and award of contract for the establishment of oil, gas research centre and Museum in Oloibiri.
It also urged the government to give priority attention to the development of the heritage institutions such as Oloibiri oil and gas research centre and museum.
The Senate, therefore, directed its relevant committees to carry out intensive oversight on the implementation of the project.
The Senate also at plenary received the report of bipartisan Ad-hoc Committee on the alleged assault by Sen. Elisha Isaku.(PDP Adamawa).
It also considered the first reading of 10 bills.
The bills are:Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Boroffice Ajayi,(APC Ondo),Federal University of Gusau Bill, sponsored by Sen Ya’u Sahabi(APC Zamfara).
Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Abeokuta Bill, sponsored by Sen.
Amosun Ibikunle (APC Ogun) and Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Bill,2019 by Sen Theodore Orji (PDP Abia).
Others are: Federal Polytechnic, Orogu, Delta, sponsored by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (APC Delta), Dormant Accounts Fund Management Bill, 2019 also by Sen. Ovie Omo- Agege (APC Delta), Social Assistance Bill,2019, sponsored by Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani (PDP Enugu).
Others are: the Federal Polytechnic, Silame,Sokoto state sponsored by Sen .Aliyu Wamakko (APC Sokoto), NDDC Act Amendment Bill 2019, sponsored by Sen .Mpigi Barinada (PDP Rivers) and Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Bill,2019, by Sen. Gyang Istifanus(APC Plateau).
In the same vein, a Bill for an act to amend the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract, sponsored by Sen.Akpan Bassey (PDP Akwa-Ibom while Sen. Ubah Ifeanyi (YPP Anambra) was considered for second reading.
Contributing on the bill, Sen .Theodore Orji, urged the Senate to ensure the bill is passed into law for the president’s assent, given its importance.
According to him, the bill has earlier been presented in the 8th Senate but was not passed when it was sent for further legislative input at the committee stage.
Delta Reps Bicker Over Bill On Proposed Federal Poly
Two federal lawmakers from Delta State, South-South Nigeria, have thrown up disagreement over where a proposed federal polytechnic should be located within the State.
This followed a presentation of a bill for an Act seeking the establishment of a federal polytechnic Orogun in Delta Central Senatorial zone, which was forwarded from the Senate to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
While the said Bill was said to have been sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central, there was a similar Bill sponsored by Rep. Ossai Nicholas Ossai representing Ukwani Federal constituency which is in Delta North.
The Bill which was seeking the establishment of the same federal university with its location in Kwale, Delta North was passed by the House and sent to the Senate for concurrence in November 2019.
It, however, couldn’t get a Senate concurrence following the rejection by the red chamber, prompting Rep. Ossai to kick against the House concurring the current version changing the school’s proposed location and seeking the nod of the House.
Trouble began three weeks ago when Ossai, who chairs the House Committee, raised a point of order alerting the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila that the Bill so listed on the order paper as emanating from the Senate for concurrence was actually sponsored by him and passed by the House, but was rejected by the Senate when it was forwarded for concurrence.
APC Urges Credible Election In Nsukka LG
Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Joseph Ugwuoke,in Nsukka Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State, has urged Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) to ensure that February 29 local government poll is credible.
Ugwuoke made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Nsukka, yesterday.
He said that ENSIEC should allow the will of the electorate to prevail during that election by conducting an election that would be described by all as free and fair.
“The commission should ensure the votes of the people of Enugu State count in that election.
“I urge ENSIEC to give every political party an equal level playing ground during the election and resists any attempt by any politician to use their staff to commit electoral fraud.
“The state electoral umpire should ensure that the staff and ad-hoc staff exhibit high level of transparency and honesty during the exercise so that only candidates that have mandates of the electorate will emerge victorious,” he said.
Group Advocates Stronger Representation Of Women In Governance
The League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV), Bauchi State Chapter, has advocated for stronger recognition of women issues through increased representation at all levels of governance.
The Chairperson of the league in Bauchi, Hajiya Fatima Zakari, made the call at a town hall meeting of stakeholders in Bauchi, yesterday.
She said stronger recognition of women’s issues in policy was required through increased representation in national, state and local governance.
According to her, if women are elected into governance, it will play key role in addressing critical issues affecting them and their broader communities,“such as education, water management, health and domestic violence, among others,” she said.
Zakari said that women representation in governance would promote greater equality in politics and support stronger representation of women issues in policy.
The chairperson expressed optimism that NILOWV was gaining ground in the state with more women understanding the need to actively participate in governance and decision making.
Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, Hajiya Aisha Bama, the Secretary, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Bauchi State chapter, appealed to government at all levels to acknowledge the contribution of women in the society.
She reiterated that involvement of more women in political leadership would raise public awareness of their involvement in politics.
Participants were drawn from the traditional institutions, civil society organisations, security agencies and organised private sector, among others.
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