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Niger Delta: Budget Group Blasts Reps Over Panacea

Niger Delta: Budget Group Blasts Reps Over Panacea


By Akanimo Sampson,
Port Harcourt

THE Niger Delta Budget Monotoring Group, NDEBUMOG, has taken on the lower chamber of Nigeria's bi-cameral legislature, saying their solution to the oil and gas region's socio-economic, political and environmental problems does not hold water.

National Co-ordinator of the budget group, George-Hill Anthony, told this reporter on Saturdau in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, that their Regional Accountability Center was not happy with the solution being canvassed by the South-South Parliamentary Caucus of the House of Representatives. The parliamentary caucus is among others routing for increased derivation to the nine oil-producing states-Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers as the panacea to ending the looming and sporadic crisis (spreading) in the Niger Delta.

''NDEBUMOG supports increase derivation to our Niger Delta from the 13% presently applicable; but king pining increase derivation as demanded by the South-South Caucus in the House of Reps as either the cornerstone to resolving the crisis in the Niger Delta is either deceptive or half-truth'', Anthony said.

According to the budget group leader, ''the truth is that pubic accountability, fiscal discipline, anti-corruption, sustainable community participation in wealth -distribution, and increase in derivation principle with participatory community-face are among the bedrocks to ending the Niger Delta Crisis''.

Continuing, they said committee- after-committees had failed in addressing the problems of the oil region, adding, ''billions of petro-dollar which had accrued to our area has neither meaningfully touched our lives nor impacted infrastructurally''.

NDEBUMOG Regional Accountability Center, is therefore, warning that any increase in derivation to the Niger Delta in future (through constitutional amendment) which would not integrate and capture oil producing communities (directly) with states and local government (line-by-line) wouldn’t work.

According to them, ''governors alone shouldn’t oversee the application of our derivation funds and leaving the oil producing communities in satanic squalor. By careful thinking, such constitutional amendment which is to integrate our communities into benefiting from the future derivation directly must be sensitively worked-out to avoid enmeshing our Niger Delta into unrecoverable conflicts/crisis''.

Such,they said ''must cover these three components core oil -producing communities, non-oil producing communities but pipeline crossing communities, non-oil, non pipeline but environmentally impacted communities''.

They are also pushing for ''Core Public -Accountability'' to be embedded in the whole arrangement in a bid to sustain its application.

ENDS

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