The senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly, Siriake Dickson has tackled his counterpart from Bayelsa East, Eremienyon Degi, over his comment on the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Dickson during an interaction with Senate Correspondents urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign the PIB until further consultation is made with the host communities that are demanding five per cent instead of the three per cent of actual operating expenditure of an oil company to the host community development trust fund.
But Degi, in a reaction, said that Dickson should be held responsible for any hostility in the Niger-Delta region.
“It is indeed a shame that Degi and his cohorts can condescend so low. All Nigerians are hereby advised to disregard the latest propaganda of Senator Degi as it is a typical case of taking the local Bayelsa politics to the national level,” Dickson said.
“Degi should explain why and in what way and for what reason and purpose Senator Dickson would be envious of Sylva? The PIB is the first law that is giving oil producing communities direct funding.It is a historic development which we must get right and it would be better to start with the full cooperation and support of the communities,” Dickson insisted.
Dickson said he read with shock a statement credited to Senator Eremienyon Degi, his counterpart from Bayelsa East, where he wrongfully accused him of inciting violence in the Niger Delta over the 3 per cent allocation to the oil producing communities in the PIB.
For the records, Dickson said, he spoke on pressing national issues including the Bill to amend the Electoral Act and the PIB when he addressed the National Assembly Press Corp on Thursday.
The senator who recalled that the late former President Umaru Yar’Adua under whose administration the PIB was initiated, recommended 10 percent for the communities, and added that even President Mohammadu Buhari initially recommended 5 percent to them.
Dickson explained further that on the morning of the vote, the Senate leadership permitted the minister of state for petroleum resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the GMD of the NNPC to highlight the technical aspects of the bill, which in retrospect proved inimical to South South’s quest for 5 percent as the presentation by the ministerial team clearly and strongly stated that anything other than 2.5 percent was going to drive away investors from oil industry.
Senator Dickson used the opportunity of his interaction with the media to explain what senators from the region did in terms of interaction with their colleagues from other parts of the country. He narrated how the Southern Nigeria Senators Forum and the South- South Senators Forum led by Senator Bamidele Opeyemi and George Sekibo respectively made efforts to get the buy-in of their colleagues for 5 percent which was how the executive proposal for 2.5 percent was upgraded to 5 percent in the joint committees’ report.