Delegates yesterday began animated debate on the recommendations of the Committee on Devolution of Power, dwelling largely on the vexed matter of derivation percentage, reduced revenue allocation to the federal government and creation of a special fund for the development of minerals from all states of the federation.
Though the committee had recommended that the status quo remains- 13 percent derivation- some delegates in their contributions, however, drew attention to the “massive environmental degradation the Niger Delta region had been subjected to” and, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to “leave sentiment” but focused on the realities on ground by increasing the percentage.
They also argued that since it has been recommended that power be devolved from the federal to states, the revenue allocation to both tiers of government should reflect the new reality and accordingly applauded the recommendation of the committee that federal allocation be reduced from the present 52.68 percent to 42.5 percent.
Further, it funds accruing to the Federation Account should devolved to State Government 35% instead of the current 26.72%; and the Local Government 22.5% to replace the current 20.60%.
The report was applauded by the delegates shortly after it was presented by the co-chairmen, Obong Victor Attah, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State; and Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, the former Inspector General of Police, generated in-depth debate.
Former Governor of River state, Dr. Peter Odilli while contributing had pleaded for fairness and justice, stressing that oil producing states for now are sustaining the nation, but remained the worst terrain in the country. He said the cost of constructing 1km of road in the area, can build 50 kms elsewhere.
“The absence of justice breeds discontent, hate, violence and vandalisation, and corruption. Study has shown that every state in the country has at least 3 minerals that can be exploited. Confab should increase special fund mineral development from 4.5% to at least 7 % so that the money will be equitably distributed to all states of the federation.
“A Committee should then be set up to supervise and deploy the fund for the purpose of developing new minerals, so that States can become equal contributors to the federation account. Nothing less than 25% on derivation will do for now.
Bello Haliru agrees with the report of the Committee, on Resource Control, he supported Peter Odili on his call for the increase in Mineral Development Fund from 4.5% to 7%” so that in the near future each state should be contributing equally to the federation account” he said.
He said due to the damage being brought to oil communities in the Niger Delta region, the Confab can consider increasing derivation to 25% on the basis of on shore of the state affected.
He said the Supreme Court has already ruled that “What is drilled in the deep sea does not belong to any state but to the nation”.