There was drama on Thursday as two traditional rulers exchanged blows at the National Assembly Public hearings on the Petroleum Industry Bill ( PIB ) in Abuja leading to a rowdy session.
Trouble started when the Chairman Ad-Hoc Committee on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Hon. Mohammed Monguno, told the group not to bother to make any presentation but to introduce themselves and adopt their memorandum.
The announcement did not go down well with the group as they insisted on making a presentation adding that the bill did not make provision for the host communities.
On the other hand, it was gathered that the traditional rulers were having internal wrangling on who to speak at the event which eventually lead to the brawl.
It took the timely intervention of the security agents who arrived at the hall to separate the revered traditional rulers.
The exclusion of the host communities from making their presence at the hearing forced them to address a press conference.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the group the Program Manager Democracy and Governance, Prince Edegbuo, described the action as a deliberate attempt to ensure that critical voices were not heard.
According to him, “We are concerned that the National Assembly has not allowed a fair and adequate opportunity for vulnerable stakeholders to have a say in the legislative processes towards passing the PIB. On Tuesday, January 26,2021 representatives of oil-bearing communities and civil society organisations from the Niger Delta were denied the right to participate in so-called Public hearing organised by senate.
“It is also important to note that environmental pollution concerns are almost entirely ignored as the Executive Bill focuses more on production and commercial viability of the industry.”