SPEAKERS of the six South-South state Houses of Assembly have faulted recent comments by some northern leaders against the 13 per cent derivation funds that oil-producing states receive from the Federation Accounts.
Describing the comments as “ill-advised and unpatriotic”, the Speakers called for an increase in the derivation fund allocation to oil-producing states from the current 13 per cent to 50 per cent.
Some northern leaders had recently called for a downward review of the 13 per cent derivation fund allocation to the oil-producing states.
The South-South Speakers stated their position on the matter in a six-point communiqué they issued at the end of their one-day summit held at the weekend in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
They included Otelemaba Amachree, chairman of the summit and Speaker, Rivers State; Kon Benson, Speaker, Bayelsa State; Harry Odey, Speaker, Cross River State; Samuel Ikon, Speaker, Akwa Ibom State; Victor Ochei, Speaker, Delta State; and Uyi Igbe, Speaker, Edo State.
They stated: “The recent calls by certain northern leaders and organisations for the downward review or withdrawal of 13 per cent derivation principle on oil revenue allocation to the oil-bearing states of the South-South is provocative, vexatious, ill-advised and unpatriotic, as the call is not based on any sustainable ground of advocacy.
“It must be made clear that the current 13 per cent derivation accruable to the oil-producing states in the Niger Delta region is hardly commensurate with the environmental hazards and degradation suffered by the people of the region.
“The region is determined to demand upward review to about 50 per cent and no region can blackmail the South-South geo-political zone to back out of its just and noble campaign”.
The Speakers also condemned in strong terms the Boko Haram menace and called on the Federal Government “to intensify it crackdown on the sect so as to unmask the perpetrators and bring them to book”.
They added: “The forum vehemently condemns the recent spate of unbridled killings and suicide bombings of Nigerians resident in some parts of the North by misguided extremist Islamic sect, Boko Haram as criminal, ungodly, provocative and injurious to the unity and progress of the nation”.
The South-South Speakers also declared their support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, stressing that his efforts at safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of the country for peaceful coexistence was commended.
Amachree thanked members for adopting the resolution, which he said, was to ensure commensurate growth of the zone that had been contributing immensely to national development.
Ochei, who read the communiqué on behalf of his colleagues, was nominated as the zone’s candidate to vie for the chairmanship position of the Speakers’ Conference of Nigeria.