Oil-Producing Status: Enugu battles Anambra in Senate

*Senate disbands Buharia��s support group
*Suspends Omo-Agege over utterances
By Ignatius Okorocha
Senators from Anambra and Enugu States took to the trenches in the Senate over the oil-producing status which the former allegedly enjoys.
The verbal war was initiated by Senator Chukwuka Utazi from Enugu North Senatorial District for his state, while Senator Andy Uba of Anambra Central Senatorial District rose in defence of his state.
The stage for the battle was set by Utazi when he sought the intervention of the Senate into ownership status of the controversial oil wells, which has been recurring crisis among Enugu, Kogi, and Anambra States.
Relying on Order 43, Senator Utazi claimed that Anambra State government had through one its officials, Prince Emu, in an interview in a national daily, asserted that Anambra is an oil-producing state.
Utazi told the Senate that the Federal Government had since realised that it was a mistake by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to have accorded Anambra an oil-producing status when the ownership of oil wells had not been resolved.
He said: a�?Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, the oil -producing status on Anambra State has since been withdrawna�?.
The lawmaker said that the latest action by the Anambra State government was already causing a crisis among communities laying claim to the wells and asked the Senate to intervene.
According to him, a�?we know what we did in the past to restore peace among those warring communities, and election period is around the corner. So, we dona��t want any crisisa�?.
But, Senator Uba faulted Utazia��s assertion as he recalled how Anambra became an oil-producing state.
Uba said: a�?What my colleague, Utazi is saying is incorrect. The requirement is that any state that produces 120,000 barrel per day (bpd) is qualified as an oil-producing state and that is why Anambra was conferreda�?.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who brought sanity into the session, told the senators that the matter came through Order 43, which implies that it was not open to debate.
Consequently, he referred the matter to the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), and gave it two weeks to submit its report.
*Senate disbands pro-Buhari group, suspends Omo-Agege
Meanwhile, the Upper House has suspended Senator Ovie Omo Agege (Delta-APC) over a dissenting comment on its adoption of Conference Report amending the Independent National Electoral Commission Act (2010) Amendment Bill.
Omo-Agege’s suspension was based on the report of the Senate Committee on Ethics Privileges and Public Petitions.
On February 14, 2018, the Senate adopted the Conference Report of the Independent National Electoral Commission Act (2010) Amendment Bill, which re-ordered the sequence of general elections.
After the session, Omo-Agege told a press conference that the amendment was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari, a comment that infuriated the Senate.
While presenting the report, the Committeea��s Chairman, Senator Sam Anyanwu, said that the panela��s investigations followed a Point of Order raised by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi-APC) on the matter.
He said that Melaye intimated the House that the media briefing by Omo-Agege indicated that the resolution of the Senate was targeted at Buhari.
Anyanwu noted that following the committeea��s investigation, it was resolved among other things that Omo-Agege be suspended for 181 legislative days.
”We observed that after Omo-Agege admitted on the floor of the Senate by apologising to the leadership, he changed his mind and took the Senate President and the entire Senate to court.
“Responding during the probe, Omo Agege said that he would not be able to make any presentation because he had taken the matter to court and that the matter should be postponed pending court verdict.
So, the committee after critically observing the matter and the implication for today and the future, recommended that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege be suspended for 181 legislative days, ” he said.
The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, pleaded with the Senate to accept Omo Agegea��s apology by withdrawing his suspension.
Also, Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara-APC) pleaded with the Senate to forgive Omo-Agege. He however expressed concern over the establishment of the Presidential Support Group, which Omo-Agege was part of, saying it would bring division in the Senate.
”I am for the President and I will vote with my conscience, but after what we have gone through and we agreed, the Like Minds and Unity Group are forming Presidential Support Group.
”The best title I have is being a Senator and I dona��t want anybody to destroy the institution. They should dissolve the group because they are the worst enemies of the President,a�? he said.
The Deputy Senate Leader, Bala N’Allah, stressed the need for the Senate to take a decisive decision on the matter to serve as deterrent to others who might want to take the Senate to court over internal matters.
In his remarks, Saraki said that it was important for lawmakers to protect the legislature as an institution, and urged senators to desist from actions capable of ridiculing the legislature.
He said that while there were calls to show compassion on Omo-Agege, there was also need to ensure discipline.
Saraki, therefore, pleaded with the lawmakers to reduce his suspension from 181 legislative days to 90 days.
This, according to him, will be dependent on Omo-Agege’s withdrawal of the case from court.
He also called for the disbandment of the Presidential Support Group in the Senate.

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