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PIB: Former governor, Dickson allay fresh crisis in Niger Delta

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Senator Seriake Dickson
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The Senator representing Bayelsa West, Seriake Dickson, on Thursday blamed the leadership of the Senate for the three per cent yearly expenditure of oil firms allocated by the National Assembly for the development of oil-bearing communities.

He expressed fear that the allocation contained in the harmonised Petroleum Industry Bill passed last week by the National Assembly could trigger a fresh wave of unrest in the Niger Delta.

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He, however, appealed to President Muhammed Buhari to delay assent to the bill when sent to him, till the controversial issue is resolved.

Dickson told reporters at a news conference in Abuja that a last-minute invitation of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, by the Senate rubbished an earlier agreement by senators that five per cent should be the minimum allocation to the oil-bearing communities. push({});

Dickson, who is the immediate past Bayelsa State governor,  described Sylva and Kyari presence in the Senate  on the day of the PIB passage as “unparliamentary.”

He said: “Senator George Sekibo and I were mandated to reach out to other senators who are not in our region and we did. We spoke to most of them and they all supported us for the five percent.

“Before we took that deliberation and the vote, the Minister of State for Petroleum and the GMD of the NNPC were invited to give us the executive perspective.

“I don’t know why it was done but it was unparliamentary but it was a decision the leadership took and they came supposedly to enlighten us on the technical aspects of the bill. They told us that it is either we agree to 2.5 percent or no investment.

“So, I can feel how most members who had earlier given us their commitment felt when they heard the tough position by the Executive.

“The minister said there won’t be investment in-flow if we approve anything higher than the 2.5 percent. There was no room for any interrogation, so they left and we started the consideration.

“All they are seeing is that those who said they have a majority vote had imposed three percent on them and so they are angry.

“Let us be very careful, and that is why I am of the view that the three percent is not helpful to the host communities, not helpful to the oil companies and also, not helpful to the country.

“If we want to attract investors we must work hand in hand with the host communities, get their buy-in, get their understanding and support to create an enabling environment for investment to thrive.

“I believe that it is not too late  there is still room for a review of this so that we can have the buy-in of the host communities.

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