… says Nigeria not helping itself
By Haruna Salami
The last may not have been heard of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB which was recently passed by both chambers of the National Assembly, particularly the 3% allocated to the Host Communities Trust Fund.
Senator Serike Dickson, while speaking with journalists at the National Assembly Thursday said he felt very angry about “a legislation that is oppressive, insensitive and does not serve national interest nor the yearnings and sufferings of the people who are producing the oil resources of this country”.
According to the former Governor of Bayelsa state, PIB started from President Olusegun Obasanjo, but Yar’adua sent the bill to National Assembly proposing 10% for Host Communities Trust Fund and 10% for Frontier Basin Development when the late Rilwanu Lukman was Minister of Petroleum.
“People are happy that, at least the National Assembly has been able to break the jinx concerning the PIB, but we must get it right”.
Dickson who has never hidden his disagreement with the 3% for host communities and even staged a walk out with some of his colleagues at Senate plenary said “all the host communities know is that those with majority votes have imposed the 3% on them”.
He said the bill was mismanaged at the executive arm of government, adding that President Buhari originally proposed 5% for host communities, but later the executive arm through the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva was canvassing for 2.5% for host communities at public hearing.
Dickson revealed that the invitation of Timipre Sylva and Mele Kyari, GMD, NNPC by the leadership of the Senate to brief the members the morning before the passage of the bill was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
He wondered that a country “battling Boko Haram, bandits and other forms of criminalities and has not been able to conquer is now opening another frontier for crisis in about nine states”.
“Majority votes, might and power don’t build a nation, but justice, fairness and consensus building are what build a nation”, he said.
He urged President Buhari to send the bill back to National Assembly for more consultations and consensus building adding that “the strong should step in for the weak and the few”.