Hon MuazuLawalrepresentSGummi/Bukkuyum Federal Constituency of Zamfara State in the House of Representatives. In this encounter with RUTH CHOJI, the lawmaker stated that, NNPC frustrates any effort to investigate them
As a member of the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream, are there any laws being made that will sanitize the sector aside the PIB law?
Without the PIB law, there is no way we can sanitize the sector. We all know the magnitude of fraud that takes place in that sector. There is no way you can investigate the NNPC because they will frustrate you. NNPC has become like a cult that whosoever is not a part of them cannot have access. I am sure this is what prompted the federal government to make a new law. I believe that when it is unfolded, it will give room for proper over sighting, proper remittance of revenue and the rest.
But many professionals have criticized the enormous powers that the new PIB bill gives to the minister; what is your take on this?
We are still on the PIB bill, we have not gotten to the article of the role of the minster; we are still on the frontier issue and it will soon scale second reading before it will be split
There have been suggestions by some experts that the NNPC should be completely detached from the ministry of petroleum what is your take on this?
That can only be done through the bill.
What is your take on the call for the agitation for a review of the on shore/off shore dichotomy?
That bill did not favor the north because the south/south has lots of revenue generating sources. There is the NDDC, the Ministry of Niger/Delta, the 13% derivation and other sources. You find that a state like Rivers take N15-N20bn while some states in the north take about N2-N3bn only. After this northern governors have paid salaries, they are left with nothing and the only option is for them to go to the bank and take loan which doesn’t take them to anywhere but leave them in more debts
Nigerians and your constituency will like to know some of the bills and motion you have sponsored since you came to the House?
Personally I have not sponsored any bill, but I have joined others to move motions and also supported some bills like the appropriation act bill. It is not easy to sponsor a bill here unless you are sure that it will be accepted by all Nigerians and it will have impact on Nigeria as a nation. You cannot sponsor a bill for just one sections of the country, some members who don’t see how it will benefit their members will vote against it.
As a member of the Committee on Nigerian Army, what is being done about allegations of about extra judicial killing in crises-prone zones by the JTF? I believe that whatever the army are doing, they are doing the right thing. As part of our oversight duty, I went to Maiduguri and saw what the JTF was doing, I really commend them; don’ t forget that this people are not ordinary people you can see on the street. They usually find a way to attack the JTF using the element of surprise because they know the place more than the security.
But Nigerians are getting scared that the insurgency could spread to other parts of the country and it could lead to anarchy, what is your take on this?
I believe in dialogue, government must dialogue with the people; the problem we cannot see is the one you can’t solve likewise no doctor can prescribe drugs for you unless you tell him what you are feeling. So the insurgence must drop their arms and come for dialogue, there is the only way we will avoid escalations.
Some are of the opinion that the crises are a grand plot to destabilize the north ahead of 2015Some are of the opinion that this terrorists have sponsors. We need to find out who they are and what they want to achieve. We need to ask them what they want to achieve by killing people. Nigerians by now should know the right candidate and the wrong ones, we must be able to know those that are ready to serve and develop the nation and it is only through clear, clean elections.
We have to get to a stage we will able to fish out the perpetrators of their violent acts and their sponsors, those that have vow that there won’t be peace in the nation should be apprehended and prosecuted. Government too must be up and doing because there are instances where these boko haram members were arrested and we don’t know where they are today, no case in court and nothing is being heard. If Mr. President is serious, he can do more.
Some parties were de-registered recently and some Nigerians have condemned the act, seeing it as infringement on freedom of association. What is your take on this?We don’t need too much political parties. Some of these parties that were disqualified do not have offices in Abuja; you cannot find some of their office in states nor have their symbol in INEC.
Yet we see a long ballot paper and before you will be able to vote, you will have to look very well. At times those who are not educated mistakenly vote for other people because they couldn’t differentiate between the parties. Let to me, I think more parties should be de-registered, let’s have at least five parties.
Is the House doing anything to ensure that the capital supersedes the recurrent budget in 2013?
From the benchmark which the president was saying $75, we insisted that it must be $80. We insisted because we know that a barrel is sold for a $110 and with this, if you put it at $80, we will generate more money and the money can be used for capital project. But if we leave it the way they put, the recurrent usually super cede the capital.
The MDAs use that to protect their projects. The recurrent you see in the budget is their handwork; they use it for their selfish interest. If you go through the budget they brought to us and we try to remove something, they will tell you that, it will hinder development. So there is really nothing we can do about that except to advise government to increase funds for capital projects and reduce the recurrent because it is the civil servant that spends the recurrent.