The Senate has began legislative work on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Rechristened Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB), it passed first reading in the upper chamber.
The PIB had been in the National Assembly since 2007 with several versions of the bill making the rounds.
Senator Donald Tayo Alasoadura (APC, Ondo Central) introduced the Bill said to be a product of harmonised work by both chambers of the National Assembly.
Senate Ptresident, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had at differenct fora promised to ensure the passage of the PIB.
The Senate and House of Representatives were said to have recently harmonised a new draft of PIB and renamed it PIGB preparatory for presenting in the two chambers.
The Senate said work on the Bill became necessary following what it called a prolonged silence by the Presidency on the bill and agitation for its passage by Nigerians.
The seventh National Assembly failed to pass the bill due to stiff opposition from Northern lawmakers especially over the allocation of 10 per cent royalty to oil producing communities in the bill.
The Northern lawmakers opposed the provision of host community fund in the bill and posited that oil producing Niger Delta region had received more than enough benefits with little or nothing to show for it.
When the news broke about a new PIB, the Niger Deltans have continued to protest reported plan to remove the 10 per cent allocated to host communities in the former bill.
Meanwhile the Senate yesterday mandated its Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream), Finance and Appropriation and Gas to carry out a comprehensive investigation of the joint venture (JV) cash calls by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The upper chamber expressed concern over claims that the NNPC had been violating rules governing its JV cash call responsibility.
Source: The Nation