Warri human rights activists and Chief of Warri kingdom, Barrister Robinson Ariyo says the Federal Government has been treating the Niger Delta region unjustly with regards the issue of the 13 per cent derivation.
Ariyo who spoke to NDV said for decades the Federal Government has refused to increase the derivation from the present 13 per cent even when the constitution supports the increase.
He said the constitution allows the Federal Government to increase the derivation from 13 per cent to 50 percent or more because the constitution only says that the derivation should not be less than 13 per cent.
Ariyo said: "The derivation, which is a minimum of 13 per cent has been 13 per cent for decades while the English language word of minimum means not less than.
"So for a system that is true to its self, if the constitution says not less than 13 per cent, it does not necessarily mean that it has to stay in that not less than 13 per cent forever."
He explained further that 13 per cent, according to the constitution, was supposed be the barest minimum amount paid by the Federal Government to the people of the Niger Delta adding that because of the unjust nature of the system, it had stayed in that position for decades without any review.
"This is why I say that we do not need to amend the constitution so much because if we implement the constitution with a conscience, we will not have all these problems because if the constitution says not less than 13 per cent, it simply means that you can do 60 per cent and it will be legal. You can even do 99 per cent and it will still be legal. You don't have to wait until it is turned into black and white.
"You are given leverage of not less than 13 per cent. So the other part of it, you are supposed to use your discretion provided you did not go less than that. That is the interpretation.
"Whenever you say a minimum, for example, we all use cars. There is a minimum amount of oil our engine oil can get to and we know it is danger. If the oil drops to the minimum that does not mean that you should leave it at that. You have to top it up. In fact, once your engine oil drops to the minimum gauge it means that you are operating the car at high risk," Ariyo posited.
The Warri Chief noted that though the constitution is a document, it is the spirit behind it that matters, wondering why the Federal Government has refused to do the right thing.
"So, if there is trust and good fate in the running of this country, by now we would have moved to 50 per cent without altering the constitution because the constitution says you can do 50 per cent or even 100 per cent.
"If you go back to your engine it means when the oil drops to the minimum you can fill it to the brim provided it is not less than the required amount. When it gets less than that it means danger. Does the Federal Government wants us to stay in danger forever," he queried.
On the way forward, Ariyo said the South-South leaders have to sit down and fashion out a road map of development with a time frame.
He said: "The South-South people need to sit down and create a scenario of a protest. We can say that we don't want the oil to flow for one day. We should marshal out our demands and say this is immediate, this is intermediate and this is long term because we know that all these things cannot be done at once.
"In doing this, we need to get some level of foreign witnesses because when two people are quarrelling you need a powerful mediator because we cannot overpower them just like that.
"We should let the whole world know that there is sense in our demands and there is some level of reasonability in it.So I think a day of stoppage of oil exploration will not do us anything but it will cost us something. It's going to be a sign that we have the potency of crumbling the economy of this nation. If we do this then the Federal Government will know we are serious."
Vanguard News Nigeria