PIB, Electoral Act: Senator Calls For Review

Sen. Seriake Dickson(PDP-Bayelsa) has called for a review of the 3 per cent earmarked for host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill.(PIB).

He also called for a review of the passed Electoral Act, 2021 via the Conference Committee, given the mis- feelings by a cross-section of Nigerians, over amendment of clause 52(3) of the Act.

Dickson, who made the call at a news conference in Abuja, on Thursday, said the review would help engender justice and avert further conflicts in Nigeria.

He said it would be in the interest of all Nigerians for a further review on the bills via more consultative and inclusive legislative inputs, before presidential assent.

Dickson said that he left the senate chamber, when the PIB was considered because he did not want to support a decision against the interest of the oil-bearing communities in the Niger-Delta.

The National Assembly had passed the PIB, earmarking 3 per cent for Host Communities Development Trust Fund, while 30 per cent was earmarked for frontiers basins.

Dickson, however, said late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who initiated the PIB had proposed 10 per cent for the host community, as equity share from proceeds of crude oil production in the region.

He said that the 3 per cent approved may not guarantee the desired peace, required for investment in the region.

“As you know, I disagreed completely with the 3 per cent.

“The House of Representatives passed 5 per cent, this country is not helping itself and not helping the investors.

” If the host communities are not happy, will the investors come?

“You are not dealing with one community, you are dealing with hundreds of communities, no one is engaging the communities, no one is explaining to the people.

” People, who think they have majority votes have imposed 3 per cent on the communities.

“Let’s not talk about signing the bill, it should be sent back for more consultation.

“I believe that it is not too late, there is still room for improvement, should frontiers basis have 30 per cent, you have the Gongola basin, Benue and others.

“It is good, but for 5 per cent to be denied the host community, it is not healthy.

“The country is already facing a lot of insecurity challenges, from Boko Haram, banditry kidnapping and others.

” The Niger Delta seems to be the most peaceful region for now and, if the PIB did not carry the people along, the government will spend money mobilising security agencies, “he said.

On the electoral Act Amendment Bill, Dickson said the passed bill was designed to undermine the powers and independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“Why casting my vote for electronic transmission of results, I said it was uncalled for, for INEC to be subjected under any agency.

“If Nigerians approach the court, you know what the outcome will be because it is not constitutional to subject INEC’s independence to another agency.

” There is still room, Nigerians should not lose hope, since they want their votes to count and to be counted, I am sure the National Assembly will listen,” Dickson said.

He explained that justice and protection of the weak and the few, were veritable instruments of nation building.

This, he said should be the focus of political leaders, adding that placing emphasis on number without justice, was inimical to nation building. (NAN)

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