COMMITTEE: Devolution of power
Delegates at the confabs on Tuesday continued from where they stopped, making observations and suggesting amendments to the report of the Committee on Devolution of Power.
Uzoma Iheme from Imo state said 7 percent of total revenue should be set aside for the development of Mineral Resources across Nigeria. He said Federating units should take partial control of resources in their domains.
He went on to say Nigeria has not been fair to the people of the Niger Delta. He said vegetation and aquatic life have been destroyed due to Oil exploration.
He however declared his support for an increase of 25 percent derivation to oil producing states. He also siad the FG must pay all outstanding debt to the NDDC.
Aisha Madawaki from Sokoto state contributing said the sharing formula for revenue should consider population, land mass, density, IGR and terrain. She also said the 13 percent derivation should be retained as it is in practice.
Said it is wrong for royalties to be paid to the federation account. He said 1 percent of all royalties should go directly to the communities. He said it should be about the people and not people in positions of authority.
Orok Duke from Cross Rivers state in his contribution read a poem he titled Justice. He said he wrote it looking at the Nigerian state. He referred to some delegates who spoke yesterday as cowards because they failed to speak the truth.
He said derivation should be extended to solid minerals as well. He said “all the Houses build in Akwa Ibom are build with chippings from Cross River and they come to Abuja to get permission to ferry without recourse to the state government”.
He said delegates are here “to kill Ali Baba and if we are doing it, the time is now”.
Ibrahim Bunu said whatever increase being proposed might end up improving ‘Ali Baba’ and his colleagues. He said he supports the idea of royalties going directly to the communities. He said Confab should make a very strong recommendation that the FG pay its debt to the NDDC, including the 1 billion Dollars from UNEC.
He said 73 percent of FG’s resources goes to recurrent, and so very little is left for essential service. He said the federal allocation should not be reduced, instead state’s allocations should be reduced since confab is convinced Governors are misusing their allocations.
Yusuf Turaki from Kaduna state said the confab need a resolution to force all oil companies and the FG to clean and reclaim the Oil producing communities devastated by exploration.
He said the derivation should be increased for fairness sake. He said it is unfortunate that Nigerians are fighting over sharing of oil revenue.
Sidi Ali while making his contribution said a former Governor of Rivers state owns the biggest private Hospital in Abuja.
Peter Odili of Rivers state raised a point of order and stated that he is the only former Governor of Rivers state at the confab and is also the only Medical Doctor. He said he has no such Hospital and challenged Ali to produce his facts. He threatened to take legal action if he fails to do so.
Chairman Kutigi however said Ali did not mention the name of the former Governor he was talking about and so it may not be Odili.
Joe Okei Odumakin said FG should have 40 percent of revenue while states (with LGS under them) should have 60 percent. She also said it took the blood of Saro Wiwa for attention to be shifted to the degration of the Niger Delta.
She said derivation should be increased to at least 21 per cent to go to the Oil producing communities.
Confab officials then brought in five transparent ballot boxes, an indication that there might be election to decide contentious issues being recommended.
Ibrahim Ida said the status quo must be maintained as recommended by the committee. He said there is degradation in the Niger Delta and there is need for restitution.
He said just like the Niger Delta, places like Plateau are are degredated due to mining activities. He said confab should ask the FG to pay its debt to the NDDC. He said delegates should respect the report and adopt what is recommended.
Peter Akere said he support 25 percent to the Oil producing states. He added that a certain percentage of the 25 should be allocated to oil producing communities with a special committee to administer it.
He also said all laws that limit the interest of Nigerians should be expunged.
Ike Nwachukwu speaking inform the House that the leadership of the six zones have been meeting over derivation and they have gone very far on some agreements that can be reached.
He urged the confab to allow them continue deliberations and report back on the consensus reached tomorrow.