PIB: Don't Incite Violence In Niger Delta - Senator Degi-Eremienyo Warns Dickson - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Friday, July 23, 2021

PIB: Don't Incite Violence In Niger Delta - Senator Degi-Eremienyo Warns Dickson

Says 3% funds for N' Delta, A National Assembly Decision 

...Accuses Ex-Governor of Envy

                    •Sen Degi-Eremienyo


By Mick Oseji, Asaba

The division among Senators from Bayelsa State over the 3 per cent development funds in the Petroleum Industry Bill thickened on Friday with the Senator representing Bayelsa East, Biobarakuma Wangagha Degi-Eremienyo, cautioning ex-Governor Henry Seriake Dickson against engaging in act capable of instigating violence in the Niger Delta.

Degi-Eremienyo who was reacting to a press conference by Dicskon on Thursday where he accused the Minister of State (Petroleum resources), Chief Timipre Sylva of changing the development funds in the Petroleum Industry Bill for host communities from 5% to 3%, said if Dickson was not cautioned, his unguarded comments could lead to civil unrest in the Niger Delta region.

The Senator explained that the 3% funds for N' Delta was a collective decision by the National Assembly and not that of Silva.

He berated the immediate past governor for his lack -lustre performance during his 8 - year - tenure in Bayelsa, saying  Dickson  contributed nothing to the realization of the PIB and development of host communities as Governor.

He also accused him of running a government with skewed developmental agenda, and which favoured his people more.

He described the comments by Dickson as one that smacked of envy, mischief and intimidation resulting from the astronomical rising profile of Sylva.

The response may have deepened the political rift between Dickson and Degi-Eremienyo.

Dickson had on Thursday alleged that President General Muhammadu Buhari had proposed 5 per cent development funds in the PIB but was changed by Sylva.

But Degi-Eremienyo in a statement titled: "PIB and 3 per cent for host communities: Stop instigating violence in Niger Delta, Degi cautions Dickson", said such comments by Dickson was "highly regrettable considering the tireless efforts put in by the Minister in actualising this long awaited law."

He said, "The true story was that the PIB as an Executive Bill was represented to the National Assembly proposing 2.5 per cent of the total operational cost as host communities development trust funds. 
The lead debate was hot and protracted in both chambers. Lawmakers from the Niger Delta region including myself spoke, argued for upward increase commensurate to our contributions and sacrifices. 

"During the public hearing at various centres, host communities canvassed same postion. After rigorous and painstaking process from plenary to conference committee, the National Assembly put the host comm funds at 3 per cent.

"This was the decision of the National Assembly  and not that of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.

"One wonders how and why Dickson would drag Sylva into this. Observers would be tempted to ask what efforts Dickson made to achieve the utmost desired as the Bill was presented to the National Assembly when he was still Governor.

"Other Governors from the Niger Delta region rallied round their people and even lobbied lawmakers from other regions to support increase in the host communities development funds. 

"Ex-Governor Dickson did nothing as he was contented with spending 13 per cent derivation on aggressive development of his own villages which are not host communities, leaving the oil and gas producing, host communities to suffer their fate.

"It's ridiculous to see him fighting pretentiously for host communities. Dickson lacks moral grounds to criticize or attack Sylva's innocence.

"I can see that Dickson is just been envious, mischievous and intimidated by the astronomically rising profile of Sylva."

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