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Other Senators tackle Sen. Abaribe over media interview

  Senator representing Abia-South Senatorial District on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party in the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has earn...


Senator representing Abia-South Senatorial District on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party in the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has earned his colleagues’ criticisms over an interview he granted Channels Television.


In the said interview, the Senate Minority Leader had alleged that the All Progressives Congress’ senators conspired to shortchange the host communities when the Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Bill.


Speaking at the Wednesday Plenary, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, faulted the interview granted by the Minority Leader on Tuesday.


Omo-Agege claimed under a point of order that Abaribe, in the interview, alleged that APC senators conspired to shortchange the host communities when the Senate passed the PIB.


He said that there was no time the APC senators conspired to reduce the five per cent equity share approved for the host communities in the joint committee’s report to three per cent

 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, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said members of the Ninth Senate did not vote along party lines.

“When the Senate takes a decision, we should inform the public correctly because it is our duty to give the correct information to the public.


“I will encourage us to talk less to the Press on ways that will give the Press a wrong impression. We should concentrate more on talking to our colleagues in the Senate.


“I would have loved to give the Minority Leader an opportunity to speak, but this is a matter of privilege. I hope all of you have learnt a lesson or two from this.


“There is no point giving wrong information because we never vote along party lines,” Lawan said.


The Senate President encouraged them to rather discuss among themselves if they feel dissatisfied with what is happening, either within the country or in the chamber.


“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.”

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