By Clifford Ndujihe
LEADING Social Rights and Niger Delta Activists, Mrs Ann-Kio Briggs, has picked holes in comments attributed to former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Ango Abdullahi that funds from Northern Region were used to develop oil resources and to effectively run Western and Eastern regions.
While endorsing the Arewa youths coalition quit notice to Igbo living in the North to leave the before October 1, 2017, Professor Ango Abdullahi, a leader of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, lamented that the people from the South were always pretending that people from the North were cheating them.
His words: “These people always pretend that the North is cheating them, not minding the fact that Southern Nigeria was developed by resources from the North.
“Please, look for a book written by Adamu FiKa, the Waziri of Fika, on Nigeria’s budget before and after independence. Each year, up to the time Nigeria gained its independence, none of the two regions was able to provide for itself. I mean none of the Western and Eastern regions had the money to effectively run the affairs of its region until they get financial support from the Northern region.”
He claimed that the tradition had remained during the colonial masters and nothing changed after they left the country, adding that the same money from the North that was used to construct Nigerian Railways, refineries and other facilities.
“First oil exploration was conducted using money from groundnut pyramid, cotton, hide and skin among other cash crops from Northern Nigeria. However, these people tend to forget all these goodies provided by the North toward ensuring the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria. They always look down on us, feeling that Northerners are parasites in this country,” he said
He is distorting history – Briggs
Countering, Ann-Kio Briggs challenged the Federal Government to give Nigerians the monthly expenditure of oil and gas revenue saying she is ready to take on anyone on the issue with facts
She said: ‘’I call on the oil and gas producing states, and the communities to educate themselves on the facts and lies on the claims that exploration of oil and gas in the Niger Delta was carried out by using northern resources.
This claim is divisive and a lie, and will continue to fuel the anger that will continue to hold up our needs to agitate for 101 per cent ownership and control of our God-given resources.
As long as people from the North continue to feed these lies to themselves and the rest of Nigeria we in the Niger Delta will not step down from our agitation for ownership and control of our resources. These claims are lies, they insult and assault us as a people and region, that has made sacrifices the beneficiaries of our natural resources will never make. If some foolish and ignorant Niger Delta people are willing to sell their birth rights, the majority of us are not. If the greedy amongst us are willing to be beggars for what is our own, the majority that have been denied and impoverished for over 50 years, are no longer willing to accept these assaults.
‘’The first and unsuccessful exploration for oil was in 1908 by Nigeria Bitumen Coy. & British Colonial Petroleum around Okitipupa. (Before Amalgamation).
In 1938, Shell D’Arcy was granted exploration licence to explore for oil.
In 1955, Mobil Oil Corporation started oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
In 1956 Shell BP (formerly Shell D’Arcy) at that time the only concessionaire finally STRUCK oil at Oloibiri in commercial quantity, after over 50 years of exploration.
These are figures sourced from Carland 1985, (colonial office and Nigeria (1898-1914) and annual report of the colonies; Northern Nigeria 1904 and annual report of the colonies, Northern Nigeria 1906 -1907 to support my claims and l will only respond to people who have cross checked or have superior facts to counter mine.
‘’Nigeria of Southern and Northern protectorates were amalgamated for the simple economic reason that the colonial British government was running the North on deficit as the expenditure in the North was more than its revenue while the revenue in the South was more than its expenditure.
‘’Therefore, unless the North of Nigeria were oil prospecting partners with the Nigeria Bitumen Coy. & British Colonial Petroleum in 1908, Shell D’Arcy in 1938, Mobil Oil Corporation in 1955 and Shell BP in 1956, it never used it’s groundnut money in our Niger Delta.
‘’If the people of the North or the government of Northern Nigeria were not partners or shareholders in these private investment companies how on earth was money from groundnut, hides and skins used to explore for oil and gas?
‘’The attempts to change the economic history of Nigeria to justify the injustice of looting the resources from Niger -Delta to share among a few is not acceptable. The greed of a few to use the Nigeria state to continue to benefit maximally from the Niger Delta wealth while denying the rightful owners even the 50 per cent they enjoyed in the days of groundnut and cocoa is no longer acceptable to the people of the Niger Delta.
‘’No amount of twisting, turning, threats, blackmail, and lies will stop our calls for equity and justice.
‘’It was in 1973, three years after the civil war that the First Participation Agreement (FPA) saw the Federal Government’s acquisition of 35 per cent shares in the oil companies. In 1974, the Second Participation Agreement (SPA), the Federal Government equity was increased to 55 per cent.
My question, on behalf of my people and region to the people of the North to tell us, the owners and impoverished people of Niger-Delta, how their groundnut proceeds was used to fund oil prospecting and operations in my Niger Delta.’’
How South has been subsidising North
Indeed, many southern leaders have picked holes in the Northern leader’s claim that the North built the country through agriculture. According to them, as early as 1910, the two southern regions – East and West had always generated more revenues than the North, a major reason they said influenced the British amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorates.
In an article, Structural Constraints to Socio-economic Development in Nigeria, published on November 11, 2007, Kayode Oladele said the increasing pressure to amalgamate Northern and Southern Nigeria in 1914 appeared to have been motivated by two socio-economic factors – to relieve the British treasury of financial burden, and surpluses derived from Southern Nigeria could be used to subsidize the North.
In furtherance of these, he said Mr. L. Harcourt, the then Secretary of State for the colonies, while addressing the British Parliament in June 1910 said: “In Southern Nigeria, the revenue has increased by £867,000 and the expenditure by £661,000 and there is for the current year (1910) an estimated surplus of £120,000… Northern Nigeria has up to now been and still is a subsidized protectorate, but whereas in 1906, the Grant-in-Aid…was £315,000, in this current year, after providing for such interest, the Grant-in-Aid asked for is only £156,000 or less than half, and with the amalgamation …… Grants in aid I hope that we may be able to set a short term to these Grants-in-Aid and at the same time relieve the Treasury from its liabilities and the protectorate from Treasury control (House of Commons Debates, 29 June, 1910, Vol. 18 Cols 1036-8). In his book Nigeria: The Tribes, The Nation or the Race? F.A.O. Schwarz showed how much each of the then three regions (East, West and North) got from the federal distribution pool between 1959 and 1962. According to the book, while the former Eastern Region generated more revenues, it received the less from the distribution pool compared to Western and Northern regions.
Then, revenue allocation was based on 50 per cent derivation, per capita distribution, population and balanced development among the regions. For instance, in 1959-60 fiscal year, the North generated 5,396 million Pounds and got 12,124 million Pounds (69.2 per cent) from the Distribution Pool; West generated 4,273 million Pounds and received 15,417 million Pounds (78.3 per cent) while the East generated 5,341 million Pounds and got 9, 413 million Pounds (63.8 per cent). In 1960-61, the North’s IGR nose-dived to 3,885 million Pounds but it got an increased allocation -13,775 million Pounds (78 per cent). Within the year, the West generated 4,294 million Pounds and received 16,250 million Pounds (79.1 per cent) while the Eastern Region’s IGR was 6,189 million Pounds and it was allocated 10,629 million Pounds (63.2 per cent). Also, in 1961-62, the IGR/Allocation in millions of Pounds were: North, 6,333/15,504 (71 per cent); West, 6,031/16,307 (63.2 per cent); and East 7,274/13,390 (64.8 per cent. The East started getting a raise following improved oil exploration.
By 1963 after the creation of Mid-Western Region and increased revenue from crude oil, Schwarz said the money distributed came from two sources: 30 per cent of all import duties (other than the few mentioned in the table, which are transferred in their entirety to the regions, and the duty on beer, spirits, and wine, which was kept by the Federal Government) goes into a Distributable Pool Account. So did 30 per cent of the royalties and rents received from mining enterprises, including oil wells.
Then the money in the Distributable Pool was transferred to the regions in the ratio of 40 to the North, 31 to the East, 18 to the West, and six to the Mid-West. Contribution of crude-oil and gas to Nigeria’s total export The North’s contribution to the Distributable Pool of the Federation paled into insignificance from 1970 when crude oil became the chief revenue earner of the country. Throughout the decade of the 1960, the contribution of proceeds from crude-oil to total Federal Government revenue was of limited importance. However, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Statistical Bulletin, Golden Jubilee Edition, December 2008, Nigeria earned N166 million from crude-oil in 1970 representing 26.1 percent of the total revenue. This jumped to N12.353 billion (81.1 percent) out of annual total of N15.233 billion in 1980. By 1990 the contribution of oil earnings to total Federal Government revenue stood at N71.887 billion (73.2 percent) of total revenue. In 2000, proceeds from crude-oil and gas contributed N1.591 trillion out of a total of N1.906 trillion representing 83.5 percent. And the contribution of crude-oil and gas earning to total federal government revenue in percentage continued to hovered around 80 per cent except in 2007 and 2009 when it fell to 78 percent as a result fall in production and export resulting from political tension in the oil producing areas. In 2008, the figure was N6.530 trillion (82.9 percent) out of a total federally collected revenue of N7.868 trillion.