Prominent elders fromAkwa Ibom state have come out to strongly clamour for an increase in the derivationrevenue accruable to Niger Delta states from the present 13% to 50%.
Akwa Ibom elders and leaders made the call, against the backdrop of the fact that the current 13 percent being paid to the states was insufficient to meet the development needs of the oil-rich communities given the attendant negative effects of oil and gas exploration activities.
This is contained in a statement endorsed bythe Coordinator Elders and Leaders Vanguard, Senator Anietie Okon which wasreleased to the press.
The statement took a critical look at the state of the nation, the crisis rocking the interventionist agency, Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), the unbridled cases of nepotism at the national petroleum regulator, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the vice-like grip of President Muhammadu Buhari on the Ministry of Petroleum and insisted that restructuring was the only way out of the political and economic quagmire the nation has been sucked in.
They accused the President over what theydescribed as unmitigated shortchanging of the states in revenue allocations,reiterating calls for an upward review of oil derivation to 50 percent.
The forum also berated theSenior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator ItaEnang, describing as morally deficient his statement that the governors weremismanaging the 13 percent derivation funds.
They said, ‘’Derivation is to the states andIta Enang is trying to ride a very cheap horse when he has failed not only inhis duty to the people and to the so-called President.
First of all, the President is the Minister of Petroleum and has been responsible for the unmitigated shortchanging of states over derivation.
‘’We would have expectedsomebody like Ita Enang to talk about the shortchanging of states. For him totalk about 13 percent, the question is, how much has the federal governmentearned and as a federal employee, how has he helped in attracting federalinvestment to the states?
‘’It stands compellingand morally deficient to make a statement on what a state government is doingor not doing because as it were maybe on his advice, the government at thecenter has come out a cropper, completely displaying ineptitude in everypossible area of activity.
‘’We believe, Ita Enang is up to his usual pursuit of doing some master’s bidding. The 13 percent is not enough for the states and we are looking at 50 percent and that is why we are calling for restructuring.
So, Ita Enang is just raising dust overnothing. And it is irresponsible for him to also say that the major oilcompanies are the ones causing crises in the region.
‘’As far as we know, Ita Enang has never doneanything positive about the Niger Delta when he was in the House ofRepresentatives and in the Senate.
Was he not in those houses and what query didhe raise when oil wells were given to the Northerners? Let him point to anyAkwa Ibom man that has an OPL to his credit.
He is what we call, ‘bo mi no ko’, a messenger. And you know messengers do not see beyond their noses. It is not enough for him to talk about the Niger Delta governors, what about his boss?’’
‘’What about the crisisin the NDDC and the rot in NNPC? Why has he not advised his boss that nepotismhas been carried too far and the posts number one to twenty-three have beenoccupied by people from the North? Nepotismdiminishes the capacity in this country and that is why today we are reelingunder heavy debt burden every year, other than resort to means of raising moneyrather than loans. Who will pay the loans? certainly, not a legacy to leavebehind to our children.’’