By Obas Esiedesa
Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari’s on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang has called for the removal of the 13 percent derivation revenue from the control of the state governors.
He said a system is needed that allows the money to be spent directly on the development of oil and gas host communities.
Enang spoke at webinar session organized by OrderPaper in conjunction with the House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta and the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC).
He lamented the dire situation in the Niger Delta region appears to indicate that the more the revenue from oil and gas, the lower the development of the region.
He noted that the governors of the states in the Niger Delta have not done well in the development of the oil rich region.
“The governors have not been kind to the Niger Delta and I want to pray that the National Assembly should amend the Niger Delta Development Commission Act and the Constitution, so that the 13 percent derivation does not the governors but to oil communities.
“The governors use the 13 percent derivation to buy new cars and to develop and build so many houses and these houses are found in Banana Island and in many other places. They have not developed the oil communities which the money is targeted at.
“Let us a find a legislative means to stop the money from going to the state governors and channel it to the development oil communities”.
Enang urged the oil bearing communities to rise and fight for their rights, noting that oil would soon be abandoned and the region may be treated like Enugu where the end in the demand for coal left the communities major environmental crisis.
He also urged the management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to refocus its attention on developing the capacity of host communities to participate in the oil and gas industry.
Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila who declared the event open, acknowledged that the condition in the Niger Delta region does not reflect the its significant human and natural resources contribution the country.
“All of us leaders and citizens alike are obliged to resolve these political and moral failings by whatever means available to us. But we cannot achieve the changes we desire in the Niger Delta until we are ready to have honest conversations about the reasons why things are the way they are”, he stated.
He noted that time to end the finger pointing and blame games on the underdevelopment of the region, stressing that it was time design a new vision for the development of the region.
The House Speaker explained that the House was already in the process of evaluating the performance of the NDDC and other programmes and projects of the Federal Government in the region, noting that if done correctly it would bring the positive change desired for the region.
In his intervention, the Deputy Chairman House Committee on Niger Delta, Rep Henry Nwawuba stressed that what is needed in the Niger Delta is a system that works.
He noted all the interventions by the Federal Government have not achieved the desired result.
“We have not been able to in 20 years build a system that works. I do hope that from these conversations we having particularly building up to the big event which is the legislative dialogue on the Niger Delta when the Covid-19 pandemic will permit, we would be to actually take broader look at the master plan again and ask the necessary questions on far and how well we have gone”.
There were several presentations on how to develop the region through infrastructural development, environmental protection and capacity building in the region.
The presenters included the Executive Director of WeThePeople, Dr. Ken Henshaw, former permanent secretary, Dr. Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, Programme Cordinator, Nigeria Natural Resource Charter, Tengi George-Ikoli and the Executive Director, OrderPaper, Mr. Oke Epia.