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Southern Delegates Kick As North Calls For FG Control Of Mineral Resources

Dr Femi Okunrounmu, Chairman National Conference Advisory Committee

Socio-political groups in the South, particularly the South-West and South-South, have raised the alarm that the North is bent on truncating the ongoing National Conference.

The groups, including the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere and the Ijaw National Congress raised this fear while commenting on a 47-page document circulated by northern delegates on Tuesday.

Among others, the North said that all mineral resources should be under the control of the Federal Government.

It also advocated the reduction of the derivation fund from 13 per cent to 5 per cent, adding that population of the North is 80 per cent of the country’s total population.

The North called for a revenue allocation formula of 26 per cent for the Federal Government; states, 39 per cent and local governments, 35.

The region demanded the abolition of the Niger Delta Development Commission and the amnesty programme.

It stated that sharing of revenue should be based on equality, 35 per cent; population, 30 per cent; landmass, 20 per cent; internal revenue generation efforts, five per cent and social development, three per cent.

Prominent groups in the South-South rejected the position paper of the North’s delegates.

Commenting on the document, the spokesman of the INC, Mr. Victor Borubo, said that it was an attempt by the North to truncate the National Conference.

He stated, “On the call for the reduction of the 13 per cent derivation, we in INC believe that it is an attempt by the North to truncate the National Conference.

They (North) want to raise issues that are blatantly unacceptable to the people of Niger Delta so that the whole confab will end up in fiasco.

“Let it be known to all that the minimum position of the South-South is resource control. The demand from the North is not only detrimental to the growth of the South-South region; it is also harmful to national development.”

On its part, Afenifere said that the document was offensive.

He said, “The document is to say the least offensive to the spirit of federalism and extremely selfish. How reasonable does it sound to seek abolition of derivation for revenue sharing in a federation?

“The culture of indolence they want to foist is betrayed in their wanting only 5 per cent allocation for capacity to generate revenue. It is ridiculous that they want 20 per cent for land mass. When land is an asset? Why should anybody be compensated for having asset? And how did they come about the land mass?”

Odumakin said that the natural boundaries of the North and South were Rivers Niger and Benue, but the British colonialists drew artificial boundaries to punish the South for fighting for independence.

He said that the colonialists gave 70 per cent of the land mass to the North.

Afenifere stated, “Today, the land mass of Niger state alone is twice the entire South-East and almost the entire South-West.

Culled Punch Newspaper

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