The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has accused the Minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of misleading Nigerians on the recently passed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Speaking through the order of urgent national interest, Omo-Agege explained that the Senate Minority leader granted an interview on Channels Television where he accused the Senate of adopting the APC position of 3% against the earlier agreed development fees of 5% for host communities.
Omo-Agege said, after the interview, his constituents have made several calls where they felt shortchanged.
He explained: ‘The Senate Minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe granted an interview on Channels Television on Tuesday. Mr President, in that interview, the Senate Minority leader spoke extensively on events that transpired during the consideration and passage of the bill, PIB, now PIA, most specifically, is the remark he made to the effect that prior to the consideration of the bill, that there was an agreement by the Senate that the host communities be given 5%.
“But notwithstanding that agreement, the APC as a party took a party position to reduce the 5% of the host communities to 3%. I am the Deputy Senate President, but I also represent Delta North Senatorial district in the Niger Delta region.
“There are many communities in my district that are host communities based on the provisions in the PIA. There was never a time that I am aware that the caucus of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a political party, here in the Senate and outside the party met and took a decision that the oil host communities in the Niger Delta be shortchanged by reducing the host communities development fees.from 5% to 3%.
“I have received several calls from my constituents since last night after the interview till now. A decision has been taken by the Senate and that bill has been passed into law with a caveat that those of us who are dissatisfied that opportunities will be given to us as we move on that we can come forward with an amendment.
“In line with that, Buhari recently came up with an amendment and time goes on, other amendments will also come up to cure some of these issues that we face.”
The DSP expressed disappointment that the Minority leader didn’t tell the truth, a situation that put him at risk with his constituents who are beneficiaries.
He added: “I felt so offended and I think some of the APC in the Senate also felt so offended including some opposition Senators because in that decision, some PDP Senators were also part of it. Some Senators from the Niger Delta region also voted for us to have what we arrived at a majority decision and that is what I’m democracy is all about. It was the majority that arrived at 3%; it wasn’t partisan, it wasn’t about PDP or APC position.”
Reacting, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan advised Senators to always be on the.side of truth because of the image of lawmakers.
He reminded Senators who might have grievances over decisional of the red Chambers that there were always another day for them to present whatever they were looking for.
“DSP, and distinguish colleagues,the Minority leader is not here today.
“Let me make my comment on this. First of all, this Senate as far as I can remember didn’t vote along party lines, not even the 52 majority. The APC as a majority and even two of the PDP Senators voted along the line that appeared that carried the day.
“So as politicians, ours is to lobby; is to engage our colleagues and if there’s any issue that we feel strongly; an issue that will make life better to those that we represent, there is always another day.
“If you are not able to get what you want, there’s always another day. That we passed a bill doesn’t mean that another day, one cannot have his way. But when the Senate arrives at a decision, we should be at thee forefront of informing the public correctly because we in a position more than anyone else to give a correct position to the members of the public.”