#TrackNigeria Sen. Istifanus Gyang, representing Plateau North Senatorial Zone says the 9th National Assembly (NASS) will strive to provide relevant legal frameworks necessary to grow the oil and mining sectors.
Gyang said this on Wednesday in Enugu during a training for members of the 9th NASS organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from MacArthur Foundation.
He said that such laws were necessary to back up the diversification drive of the Federal Government.
The senator also said that the move would check inherent corruption in the sector.
“Our over dependence on one source of revenue is not good and that is why the cry for diversification of the economy is always on the floor of the NASS,” he said.
The lawmaker said that he was praying for a corrupt-free Nigeria where every resources would be judiciously used in the interest of the country.
Gyang said that the training had equipped the lawmakers with the necessary tools to clean up the sectors.
Mr Opiah Goodluck, representing Ohaji/Egbema/Ogura/Oru West Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said that it was necessary to strengthen the laws in the sector.
Goodluck said that the issue of 13 per cent derivation accruable to oil producing states had become worrisome.
The lawmaker said that such funds had not made any significant improvement in the areas.
He said that it had become necessary to sensitise the people on the matter as most of them did not make distinction between 13 per cent derivation and the normal allocations.
Goodluck said that some of the politicians would not have the courage to question state governors due to the relationship between them but the masses needed to start asking questions.
Earlier, Mr Dauda Garuba, Technical Adviser, Planning, Partnership and Engagement of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said that N44.68 trillion had been paid to oil producing states since 1999.
Garba said that the funds were from the 13 per cent derivation fund.
He also said that N5.37 billion was paid to solid mineral producing states in 2016 covering four years royalties, adding that the funds were outside the monthly federal allocations.
He said that it was sad that in spite of the trillions of naira that had accrued to states in the Niger Delta and other oil producing states, such areas had remained underdeveloped.
The technical adviser said that corruption seemed to have taken over the extractive industry, prompting high level mismanagement.
He said that the political tension that existed in the region was largely due to varied interests on how to disburse the huge sums of money that go to the area.
“What is the state of the Niger Delta states after getting these huge sums of money and how can one convince us that corruption is not at the root of it?
“Politicians in these areas are fighting because of the money and this should be a source of worry to Nigerians,” he said.
The technical adviser said that the region could have competed with the best cities in the world had the funds been judiciously used.
“In 2013 alone, many states in the country received revenue allocations larger than the budget size of some countries,” he said.
Garba said that the oil sector was embroiled in corruption, adding that members of the NASS needed to strengthen extant laws to curb the menace.
He said that the oil sector had been the most investigated sector in Nigeria by the NASS and executive arm of government.
“It is unfortunate that in spite of the probes, the oil and mining sectors are where we see the least reform in spite of the numerous investigations.
“All the investigations are followed up with reports and recommendations but nothing happens afterwards and we have reduced ourselves to investigating without reforming,” he said.
Garba, however, said that current trends in the sector had presented glimpses of hope as some reforms have started to take place in the sector since 2015.
He said that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which had been on the floor of the NASS since 2008 was a road map to grow the sector.
Garba said that it was sad that the PIB had not been realised, adding that there were no good laws and policies to take care of corruption in the industry.
The theme of the training is ‘Strengthening Legislative Accountability and Anti-corruption Mechanisms in Nigeria’. (NAN)