The Nigerian lawmakers are bracing for a showdown after revealing how they were grossly shortchanged in the distribution of a multimillion-dollar bribe for the passage of the new petroleum industry law, Peoples Gazette can report.
According to the Gazette, at least $10 million has been paid in cash to members of the National Assembly to help expedite passage of the bill despite widespread opposition to not granting host communities more than three percent of upstream oil companies’ profits.
Legislators are fuming over “greedy misconduct” of Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamiala, who are accused of taking $2 million each in cash bribes to push the bill through despite protests from host communities.
It was reported that a Nigerian billionaire with some of the largest stakes in the oil and gas industry contributed $2 million, while other firms and individuals in the industry contributed the remaining $8 million.
Due to the absence of direct evidence linking the billionaire to the bribery, gazette reporters could not identify him publicly.
Under anonymity, a senator told The Gazette that the Senate President received $2 million and the Speaker received $2 million.
“Their greedy misconduct was recently exposed to us; we will seriously take it up when we resume from the annual recess next month.”
From what I recall, many senators received $20,000 before and after the PIB was passed, depending on their availability, the senator said. According to The Gazette, another lawmaker who was furious about the scandal acknowledged that he received $5,000, but claimed he didn’t know it was part of a million-dollar payment to lawmakers.
The lawmaker said they gave him $5,000 to buy biscuits for his children because he had worked day and night to get the bill to the stage of passage. “To God, I didn’t know that they received about $10 million, and some crooks calling themselves leaders got $2 million each.
A lawmaker said they would protest the matter after their break because people have to realize that they don’t have two heads and they have to fight for their rights and privileges as members of the National Assembly.
Every member of the National Assembly represents a specific constituency, and no member represents more than one constituency.”
The Gazette contacted Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila’s spokespeople about the alleged bribery and underlying disquiet but they did not respond.
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