COMMITTEE: Devolution of power
Concerned that some of them (northern delegates) have written to the confab leadership raising concerns on some issues. He said if the minutes are adopted, the issues they raised would have become void. He said it is imperative that the leadership take a decision on the letter written first. He raised a point of order on the issue of Local Governments. He said the issue of Local Governments as reflected in page six is their bone of contention.
In response, the Chairman, Kutigi, advised him to wait until delegates are considering the page to raise his issue.
Advised the delegates to behave themselves because today is Monday morning. She also advised the Chairman “not to allow anyone raise your blood pressure” she said “we don’t have to die because we want to make Nigeria great”.
Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar
Raised a point of order, on order 10, saying the confab took a decision with regards to states creation outside of the rules of the confab. He said his zone (North West) is being short changed in the decision to create more states, considering its population size and land mass.
Hannatu Ibrahim (Gombe)
Only the president is mentioned in relation to two terms of tenure. She said Governors and Chairmen of Local Councils should be included. Governors were added to the section in question.
Suggested that additional two states (Bayajidda and Karaduwa) should be created from Katsina state.
Suggested that the list for the creation of states should be removed from the Votes and Proceedings otherwise there will be no way the confab will make progress.
Suggested that Confab must strictly follow the rules of procedure. He urged that the use of voice votes should be minimized. He went on to recommend that all amendments to issues should be sent to delegates earlier. He said all that he said are contained in the letter they sent to the confab leadership.
The Votes and Proceedings was eventually adopted amidst protests by some delegates.
It is very very sad that it is towards the end of the confab that issues are now being raised. “This country called Nigeria was made up of equal citizens, and that was the basis of its amalgamation”. The Confab was supposed to provide consensus and harmonization. “We have children that went to some of the best schools in the world, so, no one should come to flaunt his professorship here. No one must insist that only his point of view should be reflected”.
The Chairmen of the Committee on Devolution of Power, Obong Victor Attah and Ibrahim Comassie presented the report of their committee.
Observed that one of the members of the committee attended only one meeting, while another attended only twice. He said the committee relied on some materials, also met with labour leaders, other stakeholders and also allowed discussion to reach consensus. He said most of their decision unanimously. He said the committee voted only on two items. He talked on fiscal federalism. He said it has not been properly practised in Nigeria. He said allowing only the FG to be in custody of all revenue of the country is improper. He said the committee therefore, recommended that the office of AGF for states should be created.
He said to a great extent, rapid economic development will be achieved if allocation to states and local governments are increased. He therefore said the Committee recommended that the Federal Government allocation which presently stands at 52.68% should be reduced to 42.5%.
He said allocation to States which is presently 26,72%, should be increased to 35% and allocations to Local Governments should rise from the present 20.6% to 22.5%.
He added that If are removed from the Constitution, what is recommended for them in the committee report should go to the states with the understanding that the states will allocate same to the Local Governments.
On resource control, debate on the matter was done in-camera for two weeks. Two positions emerged and that is for either states to maintain all revenues from their resources and only pay 50% to the centre and some who said the percentage payable on derivation to oil producing states should be reduced to 5%.
Presenting the report on the legislative list of the tiers of government said the 1999 constitution contains only two lists – the Exclusive and Concurrent list. He said the committee retained sufficient power at the Federal level in order to act for the federating units. He said the Committee used the Constitution and the report of the presidential committee of the review of outstanding issues headed by Justice Belgore.
Oba said mineral resources in other states must be developed so that more revenue will accrue to them. “As an Oba I get only 400,000 each month, others get as much as 30 million in the same country” he said.
Advised that there must be justice in everything. He said oil producing states for now are sustaining the nation, adding that oil will expire one day. He said the states have the worst terrain in the country. He said the cost of constructing 1km of road in the area, can build 50 kms elsewhere. “The absence of justice breeds discontent, hate, violence and vandalisation, and corruption,” he said.
He said study has shown that every state in the country has at least 3 minerals that can be exploited. He commended the committee on their recommendation for the creation of a mineral development fund. He urged the confab to increase from 4.5% to at least 7 % so that the money will be equitably distributed to all states of the federation. He said a Committee should then be set up to supervise and deploy the fund for the purpose of developing new minerals, so that States can become equal contributors to the federation account. He said nothing less than 25% on derivation will do for now.
The NDDC is not funded by the Federal Government contrary to the position of the Committee. He said NDDC is funded by oil companies. He suggested that derivation should be increased to 30%.
Faulted the position of Sergeant Awuse and said that the NDDC is funded by the FG. He said as a member of the House of Representatives, the House approved a funding structure whereby the FG contribution which was proposed at 5% was increased to 10% of annual budget.
He also said oil Companies were also expected to remit 5% of their annual income to the NDDC. He said President Obasanjo vetoed the bill, but NASS vetoed him too.
Agrees with the report of the Committee. On resource control, he supported Peter Odili on his call for the increase in Mineral Development Fund from 4.5% to 7% so that in the near future each state should be contributing equally to the federation account.
Whatever formula the confab would have agreed on eventually, they should give consideration to the people in the Niger Delta. He said a percentage should be given to oil producing communities. He also said Confab should recommend that all funds owed the NDDC by the Federal Government should be paid without delay.
Leedum Mittee (Rivers)
Said the Committee failed to make recommendation on how revenue should be generated. He said the only close to that is the 4.5% special funds to develop natural resource.
Sola Ebiseni (Ondo)
Explained that local governments have not been scrapped but merely moved to the state. The problem with derivation is not with the north but with the non-oil producing states of the South. He said the minimum should be 21.5%
Conference adjourned till Tuesday.
Motion for adjournment moved by Senator Ibrahim Kirikasama and seconded by Iliya Danga.