The states are Delta, represented by Chief Godwin Omamogho; Rivers, Chief Ebiere Jack; Bayelsa, Chimmson Obodokri; Akwa-Ibom, Dr. Bassey Edet; Cross River, Etubong Okon Etuk; Edo, Enobaghare Egharevba; Ondo, Dr. Dele Soriwei; Abia, Chief Ndikwe Amalaha; Imo, Obiora Fidelis and Anambra, Oguefi Dan Okonkwo. In their different memorandum submitted to the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue in Benin City, they said:”It is pertinent to emphasise that, we the oil and gas producing communities of Nigeria want to have total control of the oil and gas resources found in our lands and rivers. We stand for total resource control in any form and structure of government, be it parliamentary, presidential or regional government, which Nigerians may eventually adopt.”
The communities accused the Federal Government and Nigerians as insensitive to the agitation of the oil and gas producing communities to control the management and use of their oil and gas resources.
The communities, represented by Chief Godwin Omamogho from Delta State, recalled their three decades struggles, which eventually led to the 13 per cent derivation provision in the Constitution, but lamented that the federal government was paying the derivation fund to the producing states governments to the exclusion of the actual oil and gas producing communities in violation of two mandatory provisions of the 1999 Constitution, Section 162(2) and of the principle of separation of powers.
“For 13 years now the Federal Government in collaboration with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Federal Ministry of Finance has continued to pay 13 percent derivation fund to the state governments, leaving the actual oil and gas producing communities who are the legitimate and exclusive beneficiaries of the 13 per cent derivation fund in ravaging poverty, hunger and penury,” they said.
They alluded to the United States of America from where Nigeria copied its Presidential system of Government and said what obtains there was strict adherence to fiscal federalism, where the owners are allowed to manage and exploit their resources and pay taxes to the Central Government.
“We, the oil and gas producing communities, want to seize this opportunity of the National Dialogue offer to ask for the return of our oil and gas resources to the original owners so that we can exploit, manage our resources and pay tax to the Federal Government,” they said.
The Isoko Consultative Forum (ICF), in its memorandum, backed total resource control for oil and gas producing communities.
It also demanded for the creation of two additional local governments for the Isoko people.
Information from This Day was used in this report.