Read Time:3 Minute, 28 Second
The National Conference committee on devolution of power will next Monday take final decision on the contentious issue of derivation and resource control.
The Co-chairman of the committee and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, dropped the hint at the National Judicial Institute in Abuja, where the committee is currently sitting.
According to him, discussions on derivation will commence on Monday and all members of the committee are expected to make their contributions before a final the decision is made.
“Discussions on resource control started yesterday. So far, not all committee members have been able to make their own contributions. So, even when we come back from lunch those who have not spoken will speak and if we still have some leftover they will continue on Monday and then we will be able to take decisions.
“You cannot take a decision when you have not heard everybody’s opinion on the matter. So, we are still waiting for everybody to present their position.
“But a pattern is beginning to emerge which I don’t want to anticipate or pre-empt, so when the time comes, we will tell you what decisions were taken.
“All I can say now is that the whole focus is on whether dichotomy should be reintroduced, what should be the percentage on derivation and ownership of the resources,” Attah said.
However, a member of the committee from Rivers State, Ann Kio Briggs, told journalists that the people of the Niger Delta region are still demanding for 50 percent resource control.
According to her, “That is the message my people gave me and that is exactly what I told members of the committee during my presentation.”
Briggs further disclosed that the people of the Niger Delta region, who are the victims of the activities of oil producing companies, and against reintroduction of on-shore/off-shore dichotomy have insisted that the continental shelf belongs to the states where the shelf are located.
Meanwhile, the committee yesterday could not reach an agreement on the twin issues of derivation principle and resource control.
The committee which sat in a closed session for four hours during the morning session resumed deliberations after lunch break and sat for another three hours listening to opinions of each of the members.
It was the second day the issues were considered by the committee co-chaired by Attah, and the former Inspector General of Police (IG), Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie.
Also mentioned in the course of the debate was the demand by delegates from the North for the reintroduction of the on-shore off-shore oil dichotomy which implies that oil produced within certain nautical miles off the sea shore should not enjoy derivation principle.
The position was stoutly opposed to by delegates from the South, particularly those from Akwa Ibom State whose oil production is principally offshore although with sufficient share of environmental degradation.
They stated that based on the position of the federal government in 2003 which led to the passage of a bill by the National Assembly for the abolition of the on-shore off-shore oil dichotomy, the matter could not be re-opened for any reason whatsoever.
In his contribution to the debate on derivation principle, Professor Nsongurua Udombana noted that two of the Nigeria’s Constitution since independence including that of 1960 in Section 134(2); and that of 1963 in Section 140(1) had provided that 50 percent royalty be paid to regions in respect of any minerals extracted from the region.
He therefore urged the Committee to amend Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution which provides for a minimum of 13 per cent derivation revenue to states in respect of natural resources extracted from those states to be amended to reflect 50 percent.
Attah told journalists after the sitting that deliberation on the issues would continue on Monday after the work-free days announced by the federal government, which principally affects the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).