By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Following insinuations that Northern senators are opposed to the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a northern senator, Kabir Garba Marafa (Zamfara Central), has described the impression as a tissue of lie. The lawmakers said it was unthinkable that a region would seek to kill a bill that affects the progress of the entire country.
Marafa, who made this disclosure in a chat with THISDAY, explained what led to the insinuation.
According to him, upon the introduction of the bill on the floor of the Senate, northern senators requested for time to study it with the intention to examine its content vis-a-vis how it affects the North and the entire country.
He said it was unfortunate that the time requested to study the bill was interpreted to imply that northerners had automatically resolved to kill the bill, adding that a bill of that magnitude which involves several stakeholders will definitely be viewed from different perspectives.
He revealed that till date, there had never been any forum where northern senators met and resolved to oppose the bill.
“I don’t see any reason anybody will resolve to kill a bill that affects the whole country. Who does not know what the oil industry mean to this country? I don’t think there is any reason a group of people will want to kill such a bill. How can you throw the baby away with bath water?
“When the bill was introduced, we only asked for time to study it and look at how it would affect our region and the whole country in general.
“How can that be taken to mean that we want to kill the bill?
“This bill can be looked at from two perspectives. The first and the common perspective is the country and the second is our individual constituency. Our different constituencies have different needs just as there are different stakeholders with different interests in this bill. Stakeholders such as oil companies or the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will look at the bill from different perspectives. Up till today, nobody has ever told me ‘let’s kill PIB.’
“The latest development on the bill was that somebody tried to bring it up and we said ‘let us study it and approach it from the point of view of our needs.’ So, there is no iota of truth in the report that northern senators want to kill the bill.
“No northern senator will want to kill such a bill. We only need to look at it and how it affects our zone and the country,” Marafa explained.