Lagos and Asaba — Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State yesterday reiterated call for more allocation of resources to the Niger Delta region 24 hours after Bauchi State Governor Malam Isa Yuguda said in Abuja Friday said abrogation of onshore/offshore dichotomy in the calculation of derivation funds for littoral states should be left for now until the injustices done to the oil producing communities by oil companies over several decades are redressed.
While receiving traditional rulers who paid him Sallah homage at his personal residence in Minna last week, Governor Aliyu said the issue of the on shore/off shore dichotomy is not settled as some Nigerians would want the people to believe.
He added that if constitution amendment could be effected there is nothing wrong for people to dialogue on the issue of onshore/offshore law, saying "in PIB, we notice that there are many things that will affect our people and we needed to discuss them and we needed to understand how to approach our members of the national and state assemblies when issues like that come up."
It is apparent that the northern governors cannot project a common position in the call for abrogation of onshore/offshore dichotomy in the calculation of derivation funds for littoral states.
Yesterday in Asaba, Governor Uduaghan who was a guest lecturer at this year's edition of Public Policy Forum organized by Business Hallmark newspaper publishers on the topic "Niger Delta: Beyond Resource Control, Burdens and Realities of Transformation" said those who had agitated for resource control were miss understood hence the leadership question.
He said the argument for a fairer allocation of federal oil revenue to the Niger Delta region though not won, has become a progressive issue on the national agenda, stressing that the issue of resource control will not die.
According to him, the region has been deceived and neglected by the Nigerian nation over the years as the level of degradation with all the attendant consequences on our environment resulting from oil and gas exploration and production activities is even more serious as the resources required for the total revamp of the Niger Delta region are too enormous for the present 13 percent derivation to tackle.
Uduaghan added that though the matters are constitutional, they are issues of equity and fairness, saying "since we are in the process of amending the constitution, it is time the legislators looked at justice, equity and fairness in addressing the issues which is what our silence and inactions represent while the people are dying and the future of their fore bearers compromised."
The governor who said his administration is investing in multi-billion naira infrastructural projects in order to diversify the economy from relying on oil earnings, commended the past governor who had made effort to bring the issue of resource control to the front burner.
The governor who admitted that the task of building a state economy beyond oil is daunting, noted that the vision was conceived in "anticipation of the day we will not depend on it entirely or the day oil will be one of the many other revenue streams of the state, not its only main revenue stream. All over the world, feverish effort is being made to end oil's dominance of the energy basket. We will be foolish not to prepare for the end of the oil era."
But while Uduaghan was calling for more resources in Asaba, the Amalgamated Niger Delta Youths for Peace Initiative, the umbrella body of 18 civil groups fighting for people of the oil-rich region said the 13 percent derivation fund given to the Niger Delta region from the federal government's monthly allocation has not been of benefit to the people.
The group expressed this while speaking through its president, Henry Nwabueze at a press briefing organized in Lagos.
"The money is not making any impact on the people of Niger Delta. Whether the government increases or decreases it, it is none of our business because the money is not getting to the grassroots," Nwabueze said.
He regretted that funds meant for the region's industrialisation are being diverted into personal pockets and accounts of political leaders who have little or nothing to show for it.
He argued that misappropriation of funds which by political office holders is responsible for kidnapping and all acts of militancy in the region.
On the current security challenge facing Nigerian nation, Nwabueze said plans have been concluded by his team to launch a nation-wide peace campaign that will involve youths from other regions in the country.
The youth leader said the group will in few days award outstanding personalities like Dame Patience Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senate President David Mark, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, and his Edo State counterpart Adams Oshiomhole among others.