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Like Lagos State, the government and people of Delta State have proposed that the federating units of Nigeria should exercise one hundred per cent the right to own, explore, manage and use their natural resources and human capital.
In a memorandum submitted to the national conference, the state also supported the call for the creation of state police and abrogation of all ‘obnoxious laws’ that impede true practice of fiscal federalism including the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
According to the memorandum, all the states in the country are abundantly endowed with precious mineral resources and “the practice of fiscal federalism will challenge and inspire all states to devote attention to exploiting these natural resources to fund development at whatever pace they may choose.”
Delta State government also said the principle of derivation should apply in such a manner that each federating unit receives an agreed percentage of the proceeds from the resource derived from its territory, while the balance should go to the distributable pool account (DPA).
The state suggested that the federal government should collect 40 per cent, states 50 per cent, while 20 per cent should go to the special funds from the DPA.
Additionally, the proceeds from Value Added Tax should be shared in the ration of 40 per cent to the DPA, 50 per cent to the states and 10 per cent to the special funds.
On the state police, Delta State argued that creation of state police in addition to federal force would be in consonance with the ideal or true federalism, which Nigerians strongly desire.
They said with the present arrangement, the President is the “de facto and de jure” chief security officer of both the federation and each of the 36 states though the state governors are described as the chief security officers of their states in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Delta State specifically identified 13 laws that need to be repealed to transform the country. They include the Petroleum Decree 51 of 1969 (now the Petroleum Act, Cap 351, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 1990); the Land Use Act, Cap 202; the Exclusive Economic zone Act, Cap 116; Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act, Cap 392 laws of the federation of Nigeria.
Also on the list of laws, which Delta State tagged “obnoxious” are the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, Cap 337; the Oil Terminal Dues Act, Cap 339; the Mineral and Mining Act Number 34 of 1990 and the On-shore, Off-shore Act.
Others are the Associated Gas Reinjection Act; National Inland Waterways Authority Act; Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Cap 354 and the Lands (Title Vested) Act.
In the memorandum, Delta State proposed a radical decentralisation of powers to the federating states and demanded that the Nigerian Federation should consist of the federal government and the states as the federating units.
According to the memorandum, “quite apart from being a major source of subversion of federalism, the present over concentration of powers at the centre has resulted in the struggle by the different ethnic nationalities to control the centre, bad governance, corruption, and intermittent crisis in the polity.
“The people and government of Delta State strongly believe that there should be decentralisation of powers, which will entail the reduction of the items in the exclusive list in the 1999 constitutions while increasing the legislative areas for the state governments.”