Nigerian lawmakers are heading for a showdown when they resume next month over a $10million bribe they got to pass the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The legislative arm of government passed the bill last month and Mr Buhari gave his assent to the bill earlier this week, ignoring certain concerns about the percentage share allocated to host communities.
An exclusive report from Peoples Gazette chronicled different amounts of the bribe despatched to lawmakers at the both chambers of the National Assembly.
The report said Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila received $2million each out of the $10million leaving a balance of $6million to be shared among Senators and Reps.
The funds are said to be from firms and individuals in the oil and gas sector with a yet-to-be ascertained billionaire singlehandedly donating $2million of the total sum.
State petroleum minister Timipre Sylva and Senator Albert Akpan are fingered as those dispatching the cash logistics.
An aggrieved lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity said he never knew the $5,000 which was given to him for “biscuits” for working day and night to ensure the bill scaled through after failing in several occasions to see the light of the day, was from the illicit funds.
“They gave me $5,000 and said it was for us to buy biscuits for our children for labouring day and night to get the bill to the stage of passage,” the furious lawmaker said. “To God, I did not know that it was about $10 million that they received and some crooks calling themselves leaders got $2 million each for themselves.
“We will protest the matter after our break because some people have to realise that they don’t have two heads and we have to fight for our rights and privileges as members of the National Assembly.
“Each one of us is representing a constituency and that makes us all equal because no one at the National Assembly is representing more than one constituency,” the lawmaker said.
Another lawmaker from the red chamber who corroborated the claims said some of his colleagues received $20,000 and vowed to bring up the matter when they resume from recess.
“Their greedy misconduct was recently exposed to us and we will seriously take up the matter when we resume from the annual recess next month,” the senator said. “From what I can volunteer, many senators were given $20,000 before and after the PIB was passed, depending on their availability.”
Another Senator narrated how Mr Akpan from Akwa Ibom State sent him his own share of the bribe.
“He (Mr Akpan) sent a woman from his office to give me $20,000,” the lawmaker said. “They said the money came from people who have investments in the oil and gas and they wanted to appreciate us for our dedication in seeing the bill through after so many years of failed efforts.”
Spokespersons of messrs Lawan, Gbajabiamila, Sylva and Akpan were not reachable for comments when contacted as at press time.