Lawan refutes bribery allegation in passage of PIA
Petroleum Act, gas initiative will boost energy sector, says Osinbajo
Senate President Ahmad Lawan has debunked reports that he and his counterpart, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, collected $10 million as bribe to facilitate passage of the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Recall that the National Assembly recently passed the Petroleum Industry Bill, approving three per cent for host communities despite calls from various quarters that the provision should be reviewed upward.
According to online news reports, Lawan allegedly got $2 million (N823 million), while Gbajabiamila was allegedly paid $1.5 million (N617 million) as bribes.
The reports further alleged that Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva facilitated payment of the money. It claimed each senator was paid $20,000 (N8.2 million), while members of the lower chamber received $5,000 (N2 million) each.
Lawan, who briefed State House reporters on the outcome of his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said, while the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and Nigerians have the right to hold leaders to account, it was not a license to assail on their character with unverifiable allegations.
He said: “I will advise that people don’t say things that are bad. Recently, somebody said $10 million was given to the Speaker and the Senate President to give to members of the National Assembly to pass the three per cent development fund. That is funny but also very serious.
“I really want to take this opportunity to take exception to those kinds of unwarranted un-provable, false and fake information being fed to the Nigerian public. And the danger people will face with this is you cause unnecessary damage to the reputation of people. I had an occasion to take someone to court because of this kind of thing about three months ago.”
MEANWHILE, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has noted that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, as well as Nigeria’s gas initiatives, will transform the country into a gas-based industrialised nation and create a better-managed petroleum industry with more value addition for both investors and Nigerians alike.
Osinbajo stated this, yesterday, in his remarks delivered at a virtual event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Sahara (Energy) Group.
Commending Sahara Group for being “a great ambassador for the Nigerian entrepreneurial brand,” Osinbajo noted that the group has demonstrated “bold, innovative, knowledge-driven business models that are designed to seize opportunities in other countries and has done so with remarkable success in many African countries.”
He also reiterated the need for a just transition to zero-emission, as well as more advocacies to stop the defunding of gas and fossil fuel projects in developing countries.