Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Seriake Dickson has given reasons why he led some senators to stage a walk out during the plenary where the issue of 3% for host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), was being deliberated.
Dickson, who represents Bayelsa West in the Aenate, while thanking those who walked out in solidarity with him, said he did that out of good conscience and to remain on the right side of history.
He said it was disgusting that some of his colleagues were insisting on the 3% even when they knew that the money will not be coming from the government to the host communities but the International Oil Companies (IOCs).
His words: “First of all you were all here today during the consideration of the conference report and the observations and interjections that I made by which the Senate President permitted me under privileges to make some comments and I made it clear that the three percent ab initio is unacceptable, it is insensitive.
“It does not serve the national interest because the opportunity cost that this two percent difference will make in terms of security management of the region and of the communities is not helpful to investment inflow that people are portraying.
“In any case this is not coming from the Federal Government that is why I cannot understand the basis. This money is to be taken out of the operation cost by the IOCs, and the IOCs are not complaining. Yet this National Assembly and this Senate pegged it at three percent. There was a time we went into conference and they still upheld the three percent.
“This morning I drew the attention of the Senate President and the Senators that in all good conscience to what has happened to the community fund, we will not sit down with them during consensus and I walked out
“I walked out with some colleagues initially the very day this was passed and as I informed the Senate President even during the President’s dinner when we were seated there to honour the President, and we got the report of this conference committee, I walked out, a number of senators also left.
“And today, we left because I don’t want history, to record us on the wrong side. Some of the Senators who followed me, I thank all of them.
“We don’t want history to record that we were part of this obnoxious decision against the producing communities and our people. It is also a decision that is not helpful to the national cause. This is a story that has just started and I hope that it ends well for Nigeria”.