By Tordue Salem, Abuja

A member of the House of Representatives from Rivers State, Hon. Farah Dagogo, has cautioned against the implementation of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee Report, with respect to true federalism.

Federalism: Implementation of El-Rufai C'mittee Report will Harm Nigeria's Unity - Hon. Dagogo
Hon. Farah Dagogo of the PDP, representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency, River State
He described the report, especially, the aspect that deals with mineral resources, as lopsided, given the adverse consequences its implementation, could portend for the overall unity of the country.
The lawmaker’s position was contained in a statement issued Wednesday in his office at the National Assembly titled ‘ The APC led Nasir el-Rufai’s Committee report on Federalism; True or Trick Federalism?’.
Recently, Governors of the ruling  APC under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF)  set up a Governance Programme Steering Committee to evolve a common governance template for themselves and also revisit all policy initiatives and recommendations, including those recommended by the Gov. Nasir el-Rufai- led Committee on True Federalism.
But Farah Dagogo, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member, who represents Degema/Bonny in the Lower Chambers, faulted the move, insisting that the Committee’s report was ‘ferocious, very inglorious and capable of heating – up the fragile peace which had been achieved, particularly in the Niger Delta region’.
He particularly lashed at the Committee’s Fifth Item in its recommendations as it relates to ‘Mines and Minerals’
” Take a look at the Fifth Item of the Committee’s report under Mines and Minerals where it was recommended that; “mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological and natural gas. This should be moved to the Concurrent List. However, all offshore oil shall remain absolutely vested in the government of the federation. I think it is time to take these bold steps and move away from over-centralization.”
He warned that such recommendations are laced with bad intentions, as the people of the Niger Delta, would not fold their hands and allow the Nigeria nation, rip it off once more under any guise.
” While the Committee would want unsuspecting Nigerians to be hoodwinked by its gimmicks, it is instructive to state unequivocally that the report was targeted at shortchanging a section of the country –  the Niger Delta whose land has continued to produce the black gold that feeds the Nation, yet, the people are bemoaned and afflicted amidst affluence which defines the natural endowment of the area.
” How do you reconcile the Committee’s line of thought that Nigeria should be bold enough to move away from over-centralization and in another breath, call for all offshore oil to remain absolutely vested in the government of the federation? That to me is double standards.
” Nobody should be deceived, the said offshore belongs to states and the majority of them are situated in the Niger Delta. Nigeria’s extant laws defined the geography of the country as landmass with seas and rivers forming the corresponding states.
“According to the protagonist of the Report, the Committee arrived at its recommendation after speaking with 8,014 Nigerians out of more than 150 million that currently people the federation. Does that figure show true reflection and acceptance of the generic opinion of Nigerian people?
“On Fiscal Federalism, let me quote the Committee; “We also have recommendation on Fiscal Federalism and revenue allocation in which we propose amending section 162 and sub-section two of the Constitution; as well as amend the revenue allocation of revenue Federation Account Act to give more revenue to the states and reduce the federal government’s share of revenue. This again is what we got as feedback from the majority of Nigerians that the states should get more revenue and the federal government should slim down a little. “
” The question then is, why is the Committee trying vainly to wish away offshore oil which clearly belongs to the people of the Niger Delta? There are lots of contradictions”, he concluded.

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