The governor of Niger State, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has stated that corruption and outright stealing of oil revenue have reduced money accruing to the 36 states of the federation by at least 40 percent in the last six months.
Aliyu dropped the hint yesterday while receiving the New National Youth Service Corps director-general Brigadier General Johnson Olawunmi and the outgoing secretary general of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Colonel Musa Shehu (rtd) at Government House in Minna yesterday.
He lamented that the money accruing to the states from the federation account had declined by about 40 percent over the last six months and warned that if the situation was not checked, most of the states in the country would not be able to pay workers' salaries and allowances in the near future.
While blaming the dwindling income from the federation account on low remittance from oil revenue, he said: "Oil revenue accounts for more than 70 percent of total amount generated to the federation account, but corruption and outright stealing have affected oil revenue receipts."
Meanwhile the Niger State governor further said that oil exploration in the north should have been started two decades ago in the region but for government disinterst.
He stated this yesterday while hosting Commissioners for Mining Resources of the 13 northern states of inland basin who attended the second meeting of Association of Petroleum Inland Basin States of Northern Nigeria (APIBONN).
Aliyu said that the initial attitude of the federal government on oil and gas exploration in the north caused the delay of such activities in the northern region of the country.
He said that the coming of APIBONN would help to galvanise the affected states and the private sector in the affected states and mobilise the people of the states to ensure the exploration.
According to him "It is sad that we are just making the move now, Oil exploration ought to have started in the north 20 years ago but federal government has not shown more interest, but with the discovery in Kogi State and other 13 states of the north we have to form a formidable pressure group".
"We must put pressure on federal government to do what is needfull by given attention to exploration of Oil in the region. We have seen what happened in Niger Republic. We can employ such concept and ensure the kick starting of exploration from the north.'" he added.