Omotayo Alasoadura, chairman, senate committee on petroleum resources (upstream), says he was offered millions of dollars to scuttle the petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB).
Speaking after he received a letter of commendation from the correspondents chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Akure, the Ondo state capital, he said members of the committee in the sixth and seventh national assembly allegedly collected bribe in dollars.
Alasoadura blamed the delay in the passage of the PIGB on the money offered by “powerful Nigerians and some oil companies”.
“They offered me money, but I said no, that the little money that God had provided for me is enough to cater for my wellbeing and that of my family. I was offered millions of dollars. One of them said a former chairman of the committee I head got $10 million to scuttle the bill. I could have taken the money and resigned from the national assembly,” he said.
“So the politics, lobby and so on from those who do not want the bill to see the light of the day was terrible. But to the glory of God, the bill was passed in two hours because I did a lot of underground work like meeting people, convincing them about the need for it and areas where people feel they were not satisfied especially, the frontier oil exploration outside the south-south.”
Alasoadura said the bribe offered to the members of the lawmakers delayed the passage of the bill for 13 years.
He said the “imbalance in the national assembly”, which often gives the north an advantage in terms of voting, also had effect on the bill.
“The politics behind the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is more than what you have to do to get the bill passed. In fact, there was a day I was abused by a set of people who came to lobby me for the bill not to be passed,” he said.
“Unless you can withstand pressure, you won’t be able to do what I did. And by the time we were to take the bill to the floor of the house for passage, we booked three days because we thought it would be stormy.
“The south-south wants everything; the north does not want it. So, when it comes to the floor of the senate, it will die because the northern senators are more than the southern senators. In the national assembly, the politics there is different from that of your state. National Assembly is about lobby. It is about getting people to support you.
“If they don’t support you, if you bring the best bill to the floor of the senate, it will die.”
The bill was passed on May 25, 2017. It was broken into four parts.
It seeks to split the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management (NPAM) and National Oil Company (NOC).