By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA—The Presidency yesterday distanced itself from reports that President Goodluck Jonathan had personally effected a new revenue profile for his home state, Bayelsa, without recourse to due process.
A highly placed presidency source told Vanguard on condition of anonymity that the issue of revenue allocation was strictly a constitutional matter and driven exclusively by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, RMFAC.
“This is to correct the wrong impression being created in some quarters that President Jonathan has approved a special derivation profile for his home state, Bayelsa.
“This allegation is altogether mischievous, even ridiculous, since it is open knowledge that revenue allocation is a constitutional matter, and that the RMFAC, not the president, drives the process,” the source said.
The presidential source stated further that “for clarification, some derivation states like Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River states have made the case that while the onshore/offshore abrogation law grants them oil and gas revenues within their baseline and 200m isobaths, they suffered severe environmental impact, and were accountable for the immediate security of some oil fields just beyond that distance”.
According to the source, based on the argument, the states “are, therefore, requesting accommodation in revenues accruing from such fields.
All the cases have been referred to the National Boundary Commission, NBC, and the RMFAC for advice.”
Citing the case of Bayelsa in particular, the presidential source said “the NBC wrote the president to state that: “The commission has confirmed the location of the affected oil fields beyond the 200m isobaths limit of the offshore/onshore abrogation law of 2004.
However, some of the reasons advanced by Bayelsa State government are relevant and the Federal Government may wish to consider the prayers of the state as appropriate in view of the environmental degradation and volatile security (situation) that the state may have to contend with if the said oil fields are to be secured and guaranteed.”
The source maintained that “what the president has done is to refer this advice to RMFAC for its consideration. It was not a presidential approval, if it was, the president would have said so.”
The situation is the same in the case of Cross River and Rivers states and the president is awaiting RMFAC’s final recommendation on the matter.”