Nigeria’s national assembly could find itself enmeshed in devastating scandal when it returns from recess in September, as members of the House of Representatives and senate gear up for a face-off with the leadership of both legislative chambers over the sharing of a $10 million bribe for the passage of the contentious Petroleum industry bill (PIB).
The largesse, according to Peoples Gazette, was given to the federal lawmakers to ensure that the provisions of the controversial bill are favourable to some elements in government and the oil & gas sector.
Despite vehement opposition by some lawmakers, especially those from oil-producing states, and public outcry over some aspect of the law — like the percentage accruable to host communities — the leadership of both houses hammered through the bill, and President Muhammadu Buhari assented it on Tuesday.
However, the largesse that heralded the questionable passage of the bill is about to spur acrimony among lawmakers and turn the unconvincing and eternally unscrupulous 9th assembly into a house of cards.
According to Peoples Gazette, some legislators are unhappy with the sharing formula of the largesse as many felt shortchanged by what one of the lawmakers described as “greedy conduct” on part of principal officers of the national assembly. The aggrieved lawmakers noted that the disparity between the amount received by principal officers and other members of the national assembly is unacceptable and that they would not hesitate to broach the subject once they resume for plenary next month.
Principal officers like senate president, Lawan Ahmad, and House of Representatives speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila reportedly got £2 million each to facilitate the passing of the bill, while other lawmakers got between $5, 000 to £20, 000 depending on their role and effort in seeing through the bill.
According to the media outlet, a Nigerian billionaire of repute and influence who has a massive stake in the oil and gas industry was said to have bankrolled a significant portion of the bribe with $2 million, while other firms and individuals with a sizable stake in oil and gas industry provided the remaining $8 million.
“The Senate President received $2 million and the Speaker received $2 million,” a senator told The Gazette under anonymity to avoid charges of breach of privilege. “Their greedy misconduct was recently exposed to us and we will seriously take up the matter when we resume from the annual recess next month.” The outfit quoted a senator who’s familiar with the development to have said.
“From what I can volunteer, many senators were given $20,000 before and after the PIB was passed, depending on their availability,” the senator said.
Another displeased lawmaker disclosed that he received $5,000, but said he didn’t know it was part of a multimillion-dollar financial inducement to lawmakers to pass the bill.
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