By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has clarified that it has no plan to reintroduce the abolished onshore/offshore dichotomy to shortchange the littoral states of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Lagos, and others as being rumoured.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters, Senator Ita Enang, gave the assurance yesterday while briefing State House Correspondents.
Enang said the allegation was unfounded maintaining that the President, the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the Committee on proposal for re-structuring of Nigeria report led by Governor El-Rufai have no such intention to deny the littoral states of their derivation contents of revenue allocation.
The Presidential aide said “As preliminary I want to state aforehand that neither President Muhammed Buhari, the APC as a Ruling party nor the Report on re-structuring has reintroduced covertly or overtly or in any manner whatsoever the abrogated on-shore-off-shore dichotomy and that the statutory allocation to Akwa Ibom and other littoral States will not decrease.
“I speak and say again that the intendment of the report is to allow the states control resources and devolve more powers to the states, and consequently increase allocation to the states, of which Akwa Ibom is among.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Report on pages 18, 19 & 21, Volume 1 of Report of the APC Committee on True Federalism, recommends as follows: –
“To the unity of the country and ensure that states are more financially empowered to deliver services to their residents, as well as ensure no one feels disadvantaged, the committee recommends that the federal government should expeditiously review derivation to reflect areas of consensus which are adoption of “state resources and pay FG”, upward review of the current formula in favour of states and adoption of similar derivation formula in favour of solid minerals and power generation.
“The committee in response to popular opinion recommends an upward review of the current derivation formula and adoption of the said formula in favour of solid minerals and hydro power. This recommendation will entail the amendment of section of Constitution
“Based on the response received and other findings, the Committee recommends an upward review of the current revenue sharing formula in favour the states taking cognizance of the proposed control of resources by the states and the devolution of powers from the Federal Government to the states
“The apprehension of the contenders is that the recommendation says that the oil, gas, and other minerals devolved to the state and that off-shore belongs to the Federal Government
“I submit that by Gods special Providence, arising from the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of AG. Abia State & 35 ors (2002) 6 NWLR (part 764) 542-905. played central co-ordinating role in the abolition of the on-shore-off-shore dichotomy in the House of Representatives and my brother, Senato Udoma Udo Udoma now Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning led in the Senate
“Upon the judgment in 2002, the Federal Government, at the lead of Emeritus Governors of (AKS), Alamieyesigha (Bayelsa), James Ibori (Delta) and Peter Odili (Rivers) agreed with the Federal Government on behalf of the littoral States for a political solution, and this was worked out legislatively
“Reading the judgment of Kutigi, JSC (as he then was) in the case of AG, Federation v. AG, Abia Reading the Judgment of Kutigi, JSC State & Ors (Supra) wherein His Lordship states:
This court has no legislative powers and it cannot rewrite the laws. Only the legislature can lawfully and properly do that if it so wishes. I must observe again that even the plaintiff’s claim before the court is simply “A determination of the seaward boundary of a littoral State within the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
According to him, the executive has not proposed any bill for the abrogation of the law and therefore the government has no plan to abrogate the law.