Buhari Refuses To Sign 17-Year-Old Petroleum Bill – Says “It Whittles Down His Power”
President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to grant assent to the Petroleum Industrial Governance Bill (PIGB) which was passed by the National Assembly despite over 17 years of rigorous consultations and legislative hassles on the document.
The proposed law, which was conceived to liberalise the governance structure of Nigeria’s oil industry, is one of the four bills in which the omnibous Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was broken into by the legislature after over a decade of motion without movement.
Sources told The Guardian yesterday that Buhari hinged his action on the argument that the bill reduces the president’s control of an industry that contributes the largest chunk to the national economy.
“The president said those he contacted among his ministers, especially the attorney general and minister of justice, claimed that presidential powers have been passed to a technocrat who might undermine the interest of the president.”
Another source disclosed to the news outlet that the bitter politics between the presidency and the leadership of the National Assembly could be the reason the bill was rejected.
It is also feared that Nigeria might lose its membership of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), if Buhari signs the bill.
TheCable also learnt that Buhari returned the bill to the national assembly on three grounds.
- Buhari said the bill, if signed into law, would whittle down his power as minister of petroleum resources.
- He said all the ministers he consulted over PIGB refused to support his signing it into law.
- The president said he did not see any “fiscal content” of the bill.
It is understood that Buhari’s refusal to sign PIGB into law will be regarded as a big set-back for the reform of the oil industry after years of campaigns and controversies.