By Emeka Mamah
Apparently miffed by alleged half truths and outright falsehood following revelations on the floor of the Senate that northerners own 83 percent of oil blocs in the country, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, yesterday urged the Federal Government to institute a commission of enquiry to establish the veracity or otherwise of such allegations.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Mr Anthony Sani.
The Senate heard on Wednesday that contrary to the principles of Federal Character, the majority of the oil blocs in the country, even as President Godluck Jonathan was asked to revoke the licences and re-award all the blocs already allocated to Nigerians in an equitable manner.However, sources said that majority of northerners were infuriated over the allegations in the Senate, as according to them, there were more Southerners whose names were not mentioned as among owners of oil blocs.
The information emerged as Senators debated the new Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which had since scaled the second reading and referred to the relevant committees for further action.
Northern Senators had earlier insisted during the first reading of the bill Tuesday that allocations from the oil revenue were being mismanaged by the Niger Delta region and opposed the provision of the host community development fund in the PIB bill.
But when the Senate re-convened Wednesday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Solomon Ita Enang, PDP, Akwa Ibom North/East who contributed to the debate said that 83 percent of the oil blocks were allocated to northerners in the country which was not in consonance with Federal Character principle.
Names of those said to have been allocated oil blocs in the country included late President Umaru Yar’Adua; former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero; former Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman; former Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Danjuma, rtd, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Col. Sani Bello, rtd; Alhaji Mai Deribe from Borno State; Mallam Sanusi Lamido, Alhaji Saleh Gambo, Emeka Offor, Mike Adenuga and Yinka Folawiyo among others.
However, Sani’s statement entitled, ‘’Re-Northerners own 83% of oil blocs,’’read, ‘’the attention of ACF has been drawn to the allegations on the floor of the Senate that 83 percent of oil blocs is owned by northerners;
and that there should be application of federal character in the allocation of oil blocs.
’’Given the important constitutional provisions that access to all national resources be equitable and conform with provisions for federal character, ACF wishes to appeal to the National Assembly to investigate the allegations and publish the distribution of oil blocs according to state together with their volume and from which dates. Or the Federal Government should institute a commission of enquiry to establish the veracity or otherwise of such allegations.
’’ACF is alarmed by the allegations because it is not long ago that the Forbes magazine said 11 Nigerians are now on the list (of world’s richest people) and that all of them-except Aliko Dangote who is a manufacturer-owe their riches to oil.The North had fewer of the rich Nigerians on the list than the South.We believe knowledge of the correct position of things will help in improving the equitable management of oil blocs in accordance with provisions of the federal character for performance and public good.’’