Abaribe Under fire from Senate President, Deputy for granting Interview

By Henry Umoru

Talk less to the press, Lawan warns Senators

PRESIDENT of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan Wednesday issued a strong warning to his colleagues who are also Senators to talk less to Journalists.

According to Lawan who was first elected as a Senator like his other colleagues from other States and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT before he was elected the Presiding Officer, said that Senators should rather discuss among their colleagues if they felt dissatisfied with what is happening either within the country or in the chamber before granting interviews to the Press.

Meanwhile, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Abia South is presently under attack from Lawan and the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo Agege, All Progressives Congress, APC, Delta Central over an interview he granted Channels Television.

In the said interview, Senator Abaribe had alleged that Senators on the platform of APC conspired to shortchange the host communities when the Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.

This did not go down well with the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege who during plenary Wednesday took a swipe at the minority leader as he faulted the interview granted by Abaribe on Tuesday.

Omo-Agege claimed under a point of order that Abaribe in the interview alleged that the APC Senators conspired to shortchange the host communities when the Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Bill.

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The Deputy President of the Senate clarified 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.

Omo-Agege said: “Most specifically, the remarks been made to the effect that prior to the consideration of the bill that there was an agreement of the entire senate, that the host communities be given five per cent.

“But notwithstanding that agreement, the APC as a party took a party position to reduce the five per cent for the host communities to 3 per cent.

“There are many communities in my district that are host communities based on the provisions of the PIA.

“There was never a time that I am aware of that the APC as a political party, the caucus of the APC as a political party here in the senate or outside the senate met and took a position that the people of the host communities of the Niger Delta be surcharged by reducing the equity share of the host communities.

“A decision has been taken by the Senate, that bill has been passed into law with caveat that those of us who are dissatisfied, an opportunity will be given to us as we move on to have this Act amended.”

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan said “Senate, as far as I can remember never voted along party lines not even Clause 52(3) of the Electoral Act.

“We had the majority of APC voting and even two senators from the PDP voted along a line that appeared to be the one that carried the day.

“As politicians, ours is to lobby, is to engage our colleagues each time there is an issue that we feel very strongly interested in an issue that we feel can make life better for those that we represent.

“If you are not able to get what you campaigned for, there will always be another day and that is the spirit.

“I will encourage us to talk less to the press on ways that will give the press the wrong impression. We should concentrate more on talking to our colleagues.”

Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said that the Senate never voted along party lines with regards to the three per cent equity share of the host communities in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Lawan was reacting to a motion on a Point of Order by the Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege during plenary on Wednesday.

Omo-Agege had raised the motion reacting to an interview granted by the Minority Leader Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe in one of the media stating that the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus took a party position to reduce the five per cent for the host communities to three per cent.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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