Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu , Monday raised the alarm over the precarious financial situation of the 36 states of the federation following a drop in revenue allocations to them by 40 per cent in the last six months
Aliyu, who blamed the shortfall in revenue allocation to the states on poor remittance of oil proceeds to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) , warned that if the situation is not checked, many of the states will not be able to pay workers' salaries and allowances soon.
The governor spoke in Minna while hosting the outgoing Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Colonel Musa Shehu (rtd) who was on a courtesy visit to him. He said "corruption and outright stealing have affected oil revenue" in recent times and therefore asked that something should be done to correct the trend to avoid an impending crisis. He also told his guest that governors of the 19 northern states were planning a meeting to discuss prospecting for oil and gas in the region as one of the ways to address the financial problems facing the country.
While conceding the fact that prospecting for oil and gas is the sole responsibility of the federal government as enshrined in the constitution, said there was nothing stopping the states from preparing the ground for the federal government to come in and invest. He broached the idea of inviting international investors to fund oil exploration in the North, adding that "it will not be out of place if you see Chinese investors in the oil sector in the region."
According to him, the Niger State Government has gone far in the search for oil and gas in the Bida basin while officials of the government and those of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC have been meeting over the issue.
Earlier, Shehu had said as part of activities for the disengagement of the outgoing executive of the forum, an international seminar would hold in Kaduna, to be attended by major stakeholders in the management of the economy of states in the north. According to him, the seminar with the theme 'running the economy of the North without or without oil,' will hold next week.