National News

Niger Delta leaders demand increase in derivation fund to 50 percent

Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) says it has been mandated by people of the Niger Delta to request an upward review of the derivation allocation from its present 13 per cent to 50 per cent.

The apex South-South socio-cultural group made the disclosure in a communique issued following an emergency general assembly held virtually on Monday.

The communique was signed by Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, national chairman, Akwa Ibom State; Chief Thompson Okorotie, deputy national chairman, Bayelsa State; and Senator Bassey Ewa- Henshaw, PANDEF chairman, Cross Rivers State.

Other signatories were Prof. Godini Darah, PANDEF chairman, Delta State, Dame Betty Igbeyi, PANDEF National Woman Leader, Edo State and Prof. B. B. Fakae, member, PANDEF BoT, Rivers State.

In attendance were stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, including representatives of governors, former governors, members of National Assembly (both serving and former), retired top military and security officers, presidents of ethnic organisations, first class traditional rulers, leaders of oil and gas host communities, women and youth leaders and civil activists, among others. 

The meeting was a fallout from an alleged plot by 59 northern lawmakers of the House of Representatives to blot out Subsection 2, Section 2 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) through a bill.

The group said the request for an upward review was because the extant 13 per cent derivation has not been reviewed for 22 years, “despite the constitutional provision for review of revenue allocation every five years, to reflect changing economic realities.”

It implored President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to focus their attention on addressing the fundamental issues confronting the country, “rather than stoking the embers of discord and disharmony,” to further polarise the polity along ethnic and regional lines.

The Niger Delta leaders reminded the concerned lawmakers that “the principle of derivation as encapsulated under the proviso to Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), was aimed at providing recompense to the producers of any natural resources for the expropriation and sequestration of their rights to control and manage same, by the Nigerian State.

“That when revenues from cocoa (in the West), groundnut (in the North), and Palm Produce and Coal (in the East) were the nation’s economic mainstay, derivation in the Revenue Allocation principle was not less than 50 per cent.

“That derivation, as a revenue allocation principle, has been resolutely suppressed since crude oil became the country’s major revenue earner.

“That oil and gas exploration activities have degraded the hitherto luxuriant, healthy ecosystem of the Niger Delta, and damaged the indigenous people’s means of livelihood, with little or no effort to ameliorate their consequential dire standard of living.

“Therefore, the principle of derivation in revenue allocation in Nigeria cannot be deleted from the Constitution.”

While reiterating that only the principles of fairness, equity and justice can move the country forward, PANDEF warned that the Niger Delta people were “ready and mobilised to dispense full resistance against this wicked machination and any future attempt to further economically emasculate the region and its people.

“We will resist this satanic and senseless coup with every fibre in our being. If they move one more step, we will respond in kind.”

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