Nigeria s new parliament sworn in

June 6, 2011 12:00 am

, ABUJA, June 6 – Nigerian lawmakers elected in watershed polls in April were formally sworn into parliament Monday facing the key task of enacting legislation on long-delayed oil sector reforms.

The 109 senators were the first to take the oath and were to be followed by 360 members of the House of Representatives.

Topping the agenda of the new 469-member National Assembly will be passing legislation to overhaul Nigeria\’s vital oil industry.

Uncertainty over the sweeping legislation, which has been years in the making, has chilled investments in new projects in Nigeria, one of the world\’s largest oil producers, with energy firms unclear on what the new rules will be.

The overhaul is aimed at allowing Nigeria\’s government to collect more revenue from lucrative offshore projects as well as restructuring the state oil company, widely seen as corruption-ridden.

Government officials, including the previous oil minister, had pledged the law would be passed before the end of the previous parliament.

The swearing-in of the new parliament took place as the outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives and powerful politician, Dimeji Bankole, was under arrest on allegations of corruption.

The anti-graft police arrested Bankole late Sunday fearing he was planning to flee the country ahead of questioning over alleged misappropriation of tens of millions of dollars of parliament funds.

Bankole lost his parliamentary seat in the April elections.

The polls were seen as a test of whether the Africa\’s most populous country was capable of holding credible elections.

While judged as the fairest election since the end of military rule in 1999, the country was hit by deadly post-vote riots which left 800 dead in the mainly Muslim north.


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