*Faults Local Govt As Federating Unit
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has again criticised the revenue sharing formula in Nigeria, saying it is unjust, inadequate and unacceptable.
Governor Diri also faulted the 13 per cent derivation paid to oil producing states by the Federal Government.
Speaking at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa, during the launch of “The Riddle of The Oil Thief”, a book authored by the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, King Bubaraye Dakolo, the Bayelsa governor lamented the injustice in the sharing formula of proceeds from oil.
He said the formula denied the people of the state and the Niger Delta region of their resources and the development they deserve and called for a review.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as also decrying the recognition of local governments as federating units against the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution, a situation which he said has equally denied Bayelsa of its resources given the fact that the state had only eight local government areas.
Diri advocated the creation of more local governments for the state as a way of resolving some of the imbalances in the sharing formula.
He noted with sadness that despite the enormous oil wealth in Bayelsa and the Niger Delta, very few sons of the region have oil blocs or have benefited from the oil wealth.
He called for constant dialogue as a way of addressing the issues in the sharing formula of the country, stressing that his administration would continue to advocate for a better deal for people of the state and region.
The governor commended the author of the book, which he said captured the story of the people of the state and other oil-bearing communities in the region.
He directed that the book be introduced into the curriculum of senior classes of post-primary schools in the state to enable the people understand the history and politics of oil as it affected the region and the state.
“The current revenue sharing formula is totally unacceptable to us as a people. We cannot have 100 per cent of our own resources and 13 per cent of what we don’t even know is being given to us while 87 per cent is taken away by the Federal Government. That is not fair. That is injustice and we would continue to preach against that.
“I am happy today that with all of our struggles, you have been able to put pen to paper. A philosopher once said, write your story before your ink dries up. Today, you have written our story, the story of Bayelsa and Niger Delta.
“This book will bridge the existing gaps of our story as a state and as an ethnic nationality in Nigeria. It is on this note that I direct all senior secondary classes in post-primary schools to adopt this book in their curriculum. The reason been that our children should know the history of oil politics as it affects us and the larger Nigerian state.”
In his remarks, the author, King Bubaraye Dakolo, said his decision to write the book was borne out of his desire to tell the story of the suffering and deprivation suffered by the people of the Niger Delta with a view to addressing the injustice.
He expressed gratitude to Governor Diri and all those who supported the writing of the book and made the launch possible.
The first class traditional ruler lamented the misuse of oil resources, which he said would have solved the problems of the region and country if properly used and called for psychological clean-up of the people of the region who have suffered decades of neglect.
Earlier, chairman of the occasion, Engr. Gesi Asamowei, who decried the continuous degradation of the Niger Delta region, lauded the author for documenting the story of the people of the region.