The Senate on Tuesday adopted and passed its conference committee report on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The upper chamber had constituted a conference committee to meet with counterparts at the House of Representatives to harmonise conflicting sections of the bill passed by both chambers.

One of such section is 240 which provides that three per cent operating cost be given to host communities.

Many Nigerians and residents in the region have kicked against it demanding between five to ten per cent.

In the conference committee report, the panel recommended the three per cent.

Prior to the adoption of the report, Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa Central) sought to comment in a bid to further increase the percentage but to no avail.

“I just want to bring to your attention that we are aware of what has happened and to bring to your notice how the people who are producing the resources we are talking about feel about the subject matter of this report we are about to consider.

“On the day we concluded work on this bill, some of us disagreed with the provisions and some of us quietly took our leave and we were monitoring developments and managing challenges.

“Some of us reached out to opinion leaders explaining the challenges…”

He was, however, interjected by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who said “we all know we voted on this thing. There was debate, there was voting.”

“My issue is the view of some of us were not accommodated. We disagree with the provisions…” Mr Dickson continued.

This time, Mr Lawan stopped him.

“We have listened to your point of order. You may sit down. I want to remind all of us here that when the Senate takes a resolution, it becomes the resolution of the Senate.

“Sometimes, it goes our way, sometimes, it goes against us. But I want to appeal to us, if you don’t get it your way today, you might get it your way tomorrow.

“I will appeal to us, when the Senate takes a resolution, it is the resolution of the Senate and I will appeal to us, we are not going to be debating what we debated before.This is the way democracy works and I will appeal to you not to walk away like you did before.”

He insisted that the session was meant to approve the conference committee’s report on the PIB and not to suggest new amendments.

On his part Rivers senator, George Sekibo, dissociated himself from the three per cent fund approved for host communities.

“I appreciate the conference committee report except one. The only point I don’t truly agree is the 3 per cent and 5 per cent for the host communities.

“As the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District, I want to say that I am not part of that vote because it will put my neck on the line.”

Matthew Urhoghide (Edo South), also attempted to make a comment by citing Order 43 but Mr Lawan ruled him out of order.

The Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, who is also the chairman of the conference committee, read out the recommendations of the panel, which was adopted by the Senate.


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