10 February 2013

Nigeria: Constitution Review - House Report Doctored to Favour Resource Control

Fresh revelation has shown that the ongoing review of the 1999 constitution by the House of Representatives has been marred by the new discovery that the report of 2012 Constituency Public Hearing has also been doctored to favour resource control in the oil rich Niger Delta region.

Public presentation of the report was cancelled by Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on January 31, following allegations that the House Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review had tempered with it.

A copy of the doctored report obtained by Sunday Trust revealed that item 36 on the voting template which advocated for increase in the derivation component of oil and gas to the oil producing states of the Niger Delta be increased to 20 per cent was doctored.

The original report showed that only oil producing states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo and Imo voted in favour of the proposal whose questionnaire reads: "Should the derivation component of Revenue Allocation be increased to at least 20 per cent?".

But the doctored report later showed that most states voted in support of increasing derivation from the present 13 per cent to 20 per cent.

The report of the constituency hearing from Borno State was doctored to also favour item 36.

"For God's sake, what on earth will make us, from Borno State, support that proposal? Everybody knows that we held our hearing in the same venue and it was open to all. Our people never voted for that. But they altered it to say that we were in support," a lawmaker from Borno State lamented.

Members, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said Tambuwal was compelled to cancel the presentation, following revelations that the committee had doctored some of the reports submitted to it by members to favour a certain ethic group and geo-political zone.

A ranking member, who spoke to Sunday Trust off record said "Nine out of the 44 issues on the template which our people voted against were tempered with and we discovered that it was done to many constituencies with a view to giving a result that will favour the creation of an additional state in the South East.

"They deliberately doctored the report in the process of collation to say that 70 per cent of the 360 constituencies had on November 10, 2012 supported the creation of another state for the South East. This is not the true position because to our knowledge, no State aside the South East voted in support of state creation," the lawmaker said.

A copy of the doctored report seen by Sunday Trust revealed that item 26 which sought to retain the present eight years tenure for the President and Governors was tampered with to suggest that it was widely rejected in favour of a single tenure.

Sunday Trust also gathered that the report of Tambuwal/Kebbe constituency being represented by Speaker was not spared in the alteration.

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