Oil producing states can't manage wealth- Northern leaders

2012-03-16
SUN Newspaper- Taiwo Amodu

The Coalition of Northern Leaders has joined the Northern governors in frowning against the revenue allocation formula which the latter said was skewed against the region.

Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Dr Babangida Aliyu of Niger State had recently called for a review of the revenue sharing formula. The governors also said that all oil blocks outside the 200 kilometers of the continental shelf should be shared as a commonwealth, rather than allowing few states to share the proceeds.

But after its meeting held at Asokoro in Abuja yesterday the coalition in a communiqué signed by its National Convener, Junaid Mohamed, expressed concern over what it called the obnoxious law which it noted was unfair as the oil producing states which are enjoying improved revenue cannot even manage it, claiming that such large oil income breeds corruption in the South-South.
“The North rejects the current obnoxious revenue allocation law and called for its immediate review in view of its being lopsided, unfair and detrimental to the interest of all Nigerians, including the real people of the oil-producing states it appears to favour superficially. Oil producing states are equally victims because the revenue accruing to their states on the basis of obnoxious derivation over-weighted formula is far beyond their executive capacity to manage.

“As a consequence, it encourages corruption and hyper-inflation in those states, their neighbours and the country at large. The law, as it exists, is a violation of a subsisting judgment by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, a fact openly admitted to by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in his clandestine and indecent corruption of the National Assembly to have the law passed at that time (2002)”.

While it submitted further that the law violates international law, the group called for its abrogation as it noted that it encourages extortion and kidnapping among other vices in the oil producing states.
“This revenue allocation law also stands in violation of the international law with particular reference to the International Law of Sea Convention (LOSC). The LOSC treaty, which has since come into force (1982), is the principal governing law for all maritime resource issues. The LOSC is one of the most comprehensive treaties in international law and clearly stipulates in its various parts and annexes that oil and all forms of wealth found on the continental shelf or the international sea bed must belong to the countries and not just to administrative/political units (littoral states) adjoining the physical sea.
The revenue allocation law as it stands is a violation of a subsisting Supreme Court judgment viz: A-G of the Federation Versus A.G Abia State and 36 others (2002) reported in 6 NWLR part 765 on pages 542-905.
Reacting to the constitution amendment created by the Federal Government under the leadership of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, the northern group viewed as specifically created to achieve a sinister agenda of third term by President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The Committee Chairmen also noted with concern and regret the goings-on in the constitutional amendment committee set up by the Federal Government under a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, where it has become clear that both the Villa and the Chairman are relentlessly pursuing sinister third term agenda/renewed tenure elongation for the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

“The main effort by Belgore and other hirelings of the and the Villa has been to create a so-called NEW Constitution that paves the way for Jonathan to again contest the presidential election in 2015 for a single term of Seven (7) years, that is, in addition to his current Four (4) years to the nearly Two (2) years he had served of the Yar’Adua Presidency.
“Belgore has nothing but contempt for issues in which the North feels cheated such as Abuja and revenue allocation and his dangerous antics have divided the committee, leading to acrimonious debates and near fist-fights with Belgore feigning helplessness while surreptitiously helping his own side.

“The whole country with the North as its head will rise to oppose this mischief.”

 

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