At last, the House of Representatives has passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021.
They passed the two bills yesterday after rancorous sessions on Thursday which led to fisticuffs and verbal exchanges among members.
The PIB consideration was suspended Thursday after members of the House mostly from the South objected to the provision contained in the PIB which recommended that 3% be allocated to host communities.
The Electoral Act Amendment Bill consideration was equally halted after a disagreement on Clause 52(2) of the Act. The House was forced to adjourn to on Friday.
However, when the House resumed yesterday, it witnessed another rowdy session after a series of calls for amendment on Clause 52(2), a development which made PDP lawmakers to stage a walkout from the chamber in protest.
But the lawmakers later went ahead to pass the contentious clause 52 (2) as it was earlier proposed in the committee report, turning down all amendments made on it. According to clause 52(2), “Voting at an election and transmission of result under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.”
This implies that the House of Representatives has left the issue of electronic voting and transmission of election results at the discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila after a submission by the NCC team announced that the House will revert to the ‘Committee on the whole’ to continue and take all the clauses.
But members of the opposition led by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, later staged a walkout over disagreement on Clause 52.
Elumelu raised an objection to the decision to consider clause 52 alongside other clauses when a decision was yet to be reached on the contentious clause which has to do with electronic transmission of results.
However, after their walkout, the adoption and third reading of both the PIB and Electoral Act Amendment Bill commenced after a motion by the House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC, Kano) and Seconded by the Deputy Leader, Peter Akpatason.
The long titles of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and the PIB were read by the Clerk of the House and the two bills were later passed by the House. The House retains 3% for host communities in the PIB as done by the Senate.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila commended members of the House for their diligence in the passage of the PIB, the Electoral Act, other important bills and motions.
Earlier, a team of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) led by its Executive Commissioner Technical Services, Ubale Ahmed Maska, had told the House that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can transmit results electronically only in areas having a 3G network.
Meanwhile, the House has adjourned till September 14 to enable members to proceed on their annual recess.