• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Jonathan tackles National Assembly over non-passage of PIB

jonathanaddressingthenatPresident Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday assured Nigerians that the administration will pursue a more worthy goal of ensuring the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill
(PIB) less than nine months to the end of the seventh National Assembly.

Jonathan, who declared open the one-day National Conference on Environmental Security, Awareness and Enforcement in Nigeria organised by the House Committee
on Environment chaired by Uche Ekwunife, emphasised the need for proactive steps towards ensuring environmental and human safety.

He said, “The committee chairman in her speech lamented the activities of the oil companies who abuse our environment. I want to assure this gathering that there is no contradiction between sound environment and strong economy.

“With less than nine months to the lapse of this seventh National Assembly, a more worthy goal to pursue will be the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and to put appropriate sanctions in place through legislation so that those that pollute will know there are consequences that follow.

“I do not pretend for seconds that the PIB will resolve all the environmental issues as they affect oil exploration, but I have no stomach for those that are not allowing us to begin serious action from somewhere. Sticking up your head in the sand might make you feel safer but it is not going to protect you from impending storm. Ultimately, we shall be judged as a people and as a society and as a country on where we go from here.”

On terrorism, Jonathan, who acknowledged the efforts of the armed forces so far, lamented that Nigeria is “indeed in a major war against Boko Haram and their al-Qaeda affiliates. We also face a range of other challenges that will define the way Nigerians live out the rest of the 21st century.

“We need to update and equip our security forces. We have made and are still making necessary investments in this regards. So far, we have fought the war with abiding
confidence in the rule of law, due process, checks and balances and accountability, and we are beginning to see progress. This is my responsibility as president.”

The president, who called on the “insurgents and their collaborators to lay down their arms and embrace peace as no threat can defeat a united and determined Nigeria,” expressed the need for the insurgents to ensure unconditional release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

“As an elected official, I want to solve the problem of the Chibok girls. It’s priority on my-to-do list as president. I refuse to pass it on to somebody else. It is my responsibility to solve the problem. Our security interests will not permit us to withhold legitimate actions that will bring back the girls. Our institutions won’t allow it either. And neither should our conscience.

I seize this opportunity to call on the opposition to quit politicisation of the abducted saga and join me to solve the problem together”.

On his part, Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of the House of Representatives, assured that the outcome of the conference will form part of the legislative agenda, noting that all environmental bills have received accelerated consideration.

On her part, Uche Ekwunife, chairman, House Committee on Environment, explained that the conference will provide the platform for a multi-sectoral initiative that will enhance environmental security and awareness, motivate policy changes in government as well as establish partnership with organisations capable of spreading the
message, see it and report it.