Want 100 % resource ownership to pay 50% tax to FG
NIGER-DELTA environmental activist and Federal Government Delegate, Ms Annkio Briggs, has said that the recommendation of her Committee on Devolution of Power that status quo be maintained on the current 13 per cent derivation is unacceptable to the people of the oil-rich region.
Consequently, she disclosed that the people have now taken a position saying that it is 100 percent resource ownership to pay tax of not less than 50 percent to the Federal Government or nothing.
Reacting to the decision taken by her committee on the issue, Briggs who spoke to Vanguard yesterday said that there was never a time a unanimous decision was taken on derivation.
She said: “My people want the issue of derivation to rise to 50 percent. Now, what we are actually saying whichever way you are looking at it is, it should go up to 50 per cent or we control the resources and pay not less than 50 percent tax to the Federal Government. So whichever one is acceptable, it is okay by us. But where I found myself highly disagreeing with the rest of my committee members is where they said that the status quo remains.
It was not the issue of derivation. That we wanted 50 percent was never discussed. It was put on the table and withdrawn. I refused to withdraw that position. I refused to withdraw the demand by my people. ”Now, the fact that I found myself standing alone in that committee does not surprise me and it doesn’t bother me at all. What would have bothered me was if I was not able to stand on that which is what my people want and I have stood by my people and I have said it. Now, however it turns out and the reaction that may or may not follow it will be determined by my people and not by me.”
Briggs further stated that even if the decision on derivation eventually succeeded, her dissenting voice must be heard.
Also stating her impression on most recommendations of the committees as the conference kick-started debate on the report of the Committee on Citizenship, Immigration and Other Related Matters, yesterday, Annkio-Briggs said that Niger-Delta people would reject the proposal to site grazing lands for Fulani herdsmen in the South-South zone.
Trading and personal ventures
”There are disagreements in some areas. The most critical areas where I have seen people disagreeing are in areas, for instance, it is being recommended that cattle rearers should be given some kind of privileges in states where they can move from place to place and engage in their type of living, trading and personal ventures.
Some people have spoken against the recommendation and resisted it and I am not surprised because some of these people are directly affected by the cattle rearers’ movement and some of these people will be affected if this recommendation is allowed to go through and then it becomes law.
”For instance, I come from a mangrove area in Rivers State. The North has claimed that they own 80 per cent of our land mass. So it means that the whole of the South, Igbo, Yoruba and Niger-Delta ethnic groups are sharing 20 per cent. Out of the 20 per cent, you want us to also give grazing land to cattle rearers. And it is only Citizenship and Immigration Committee report that we have discussed so far,” she said.