"Imo State has suffered great injustice on revenue-sharing and we demand justice and fair play as the yardstick for equity."
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has called for the creation of a special fund to compensate Nigeria's South-east zone for its losses during the country's civil war.
Mr Uzodinma made the call while flagging off the zonal public hearing for South-east states on the review of the current revenue allocation formula in Nigeria, organised by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), in Owerri, according to a press statement issued on Wednesday by the governor's spokesperson, Oguwike Nwachuku
Mr Uzodinma said the creation of such a fund has become necessary because the three years civil war resulted in loss of millions of lives, with women and children losing their bread winners.
He talked about how the devastation caused by Boko Haram insurgency led to the establishment of the North East Development Commission, the Niger Delta Development Commission because of the militancy in the South-south, and argued that there was enough reason to create the South-east Development Commission as a special fund to bring succour to the people of the region who were devastated during the war.
He commended the "bold steps" taken by the RMAFC towards a review of the current revenue allocation formula, and requested it to look into the oil well dispute between Imo and Rivers states "with a view to resolving it in the interest of justice".
"Imo State has the highest gas deposits in Nigeria yet, revenue from these deposits and production does not accrue to the state.
"Imo State has suffered great injustice on revenue-sharing and we demand justice and fair play as the yardstick for equity.
"The injustice has snowballed into gross underdevelopment of the oil and gas producing areas, resulting in youth restiveness, insecurity and other vices," Governor Uzodinma said.
He charged oil and gas companies in the state to develop a process that will result in creating a value chain and reinvest the proceeds into the producing areas.
The governor assured the commission of legislative and executive support to enable it to achieve more as a "committed" organisation.
"Imo needs petrochemical industries, fertilizer plants and other oil and gas establishments to improve on her economy, create jobs and stem the tide of insecurity," he said.
The Chairman of the commission, Elias Mbam, in his address, thanked the governor and other participants for turning up for the public hearing.
Mr Mbam said the powers to review revenue allocation formula from time to time were derived from Part one of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
"The review is to ensure conformity with changing realities and these changes, amongst other considerations, informed the commission to commence the review of the formula to reflect changing realities.
"There have been several socio-economic and political changes since the last review of the Revenue Allocation Formula in 1992.
"The commission shall give serious consideration to all views and recommendations that will emanate from the public hearing," he said.