Accuse Kutigi of serving northern interests
BY LEVINUS NWABUGHIOGU
NIGER-DELTA delegates, yesterday, declared that they would be heading back to the creeks should the conference refuse to grant them 100 percent control of the mineral resources in the area.

This is coming on the heels of the rejection of a minority report by Ms. Annkio Briggs arising from the report of the Committee on Devolution of power.
Briggs who was a member of the committee had disagreed with the retention of 13 percent derivation and subsequently drafted a minority report.

But voting during the submission of the document, the conference rejected the report.
The recommendation of retaining the status quo on derivation has made the Niger-Delta people to renew their agitation for resource control.

In their latest position, they asked to be given 100 percent control of the resources while they pay tax of not more than 50 percent to the Federal Government.
Addressing Journalists on the issue, Briggs who insisted that she was never part of the committee’s unanimous decision on derivation stated that her people would in due time react to the decision.

Producing wealth of the nation
She said: “The content of the minority report is once again re-emphasizing the position of the Niger-Delta that is producing the wealth of this nation and the two other oil producing states in the South-East and of course, Ondo State. The position has always been that we are here to ask for 50 per cent derivation or we have 100 per cent resource control and pay not more than 50 percent to the Federal Government.

Whichever way, you look at it, we will be satisfied, I mean the people of Niger-Delta that have paid such a huge price for over 50 years in environmental devastation, lack of development and all of that. We think it is time we look back to the 1963 constitution where other people had 50 percent of what they were producing.

”And if we say we are here to see how Nigeria is going to move forward on the basis of justice and equity, then I think that we should start with 50 percent derivation. Anything short of that, I think we will be deceiving ourselves. I think in the Committee on Devolution of Power that was not achieved at all on the issue of discussing resource control and derivation.

It was just put on the table and suggestion was made that status quo should be allowed, that is 13 percent should be maintained. The issue of whether it should go up or come down was never discussed and so, I am amazed to hear there is a claim that it was unanimous.”

Also speaking, Dr. Isaac Osuka, Civil Society Delegate from the South-South geo-political zone faulted the report, saying that there was an inherent lie in it.
He warned that the conference would be setting a dangerous precedent by not accepting the minority report.
Osuka added that the scores would be settled in the creeks of the Niger-Delta.

”The point is that there is an inherent lie in the report of the Committee on Devolution of Powers. The claim they made that the report they submitted was based on consensus is a lie because if you have a situation where there is a minority report, it means that consensus was not achieved. If a member of the committee did not append his or her signature to the report, it means that there was no consensus.

If you had a situation where that member made her position clear to that committee, it means that there was something fundamentally wrong in preventing voting because there are two options we have in this conference. It is either there is consensus or voting. In this case, there was no voting. So, there is something very fundamentally wrong. The right of the member to present her minority report cannot be taken away from her.

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