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Reps, speaker disown Rivers lawmaker



Recent comments regarding the Petroleum Industry Act attributed to Speaker Abbas Tajudeen have been dismissed by the House of Representatives.

Media outlets recently quoted the Speaker as suggesting that the lack of investment in the oil and gas sector signals a rejection of the Petroleum Industry Act.

Official data from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission revealed a decline in oil and gas sector investments from US$27bn in 2014 to US$6bn in 2022.

Addressing the Society of Petroleum Engineers 2024 Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum in Abuja, Abbas, represented by Cyril Hart, the lawmaker for Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency, Rivers State, stated, “Before, the argument was that international investors awaited the PIA for sector investments.

“Now that the PIA is in place, the absence of increased investments implies a rejection of the PIA.”

In a statement on Wednesday, House spokesperson Akin Rotimi clarified that Hart’s remarks were personal opinions and did not represent the Speaker or the House of Representatives.

The statement explained, “There have been reports circulating in the media attributed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“To ensure accuracy, we feel it is important to provide context on these matters.

“The statements supposedly made by Cyril Hart at the 2024 Society of Petroleum Engineers Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum in Abuja were his personal views, not official stances.

“It is crucial to note that while Hart spoke at the event, his opinions are not reflective of the Speaker’s position or the House’s collective standpoint.

“The House of Representatives comprises members with diverse opinions on national matters.”

Rotimi further stated, “The PIA is a significant reform in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, designed to enhance transparency and efficiency in managing national resources.

“It resulted from collaborations between various stakeholders, including government, industry, civil society, and the public.

“Despite skepticism, the PIA has received support from industry experts, international partners, and investors who see its potential for development in Nigeria.

“Although concerns exist, addressing them through constructive dialogue is essential.

“The House is committed to the PIA’s effective implementation, ensuring stakeholder interests are protected for the benefit of Nigerians.”

The House urged media and the public to accurately attribute statements, stating, “Misrepresentation can harm public discourse integrity.”