S/South Govs Meet Buhari Over Subsidy’s Effect On Derivation

LAGOS OCTOBER 31S (NEWSRANGERS)-President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in the Presidential Villa held a closed-door meeting with four of the six South-south governors.
The meeting which held between 3 and 4p.m., was attended by Governors Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta).

After the meeting, Dickson who spoke on behalf of the governors, failed to disclose the purpose of the meeting. He also failed to give insight into discussions in the meeting.
Instead, the governor said they only came to see the president over what he described as pertinent issues about Nigeria and the Niger Delta.
He was, however, swift to add that the meeting had nothing to do with party matters.
He said: “My colleagues and I came to have a meeting with the president on issues that are pertinent to Nigeria and South-south states and we had a robust discussion. Thank you. It’s not about APC or PDP.”
However, THISDAY sources that were privy to the meeting said it was to discuss the debilitating effect of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) huge spending on petrol subsidy on the derivation that should accrue to the oil-producing states.
According to the sources, huge subsidy payment, which were being made before oil proceeds are remitted to the Federation Account, were adversely affecting the 13 per cent derivation that should accrue to the oil-bearing states.
“The states are suffering because their derivation allocation had reduced substantially, and they felt that this had to stop, particularly because the practice is essentially unconstitutional, therefore, illegal,” a source told our reporter, adding, “They felt they could return to the Supreme Court to test the legality of the practice, they felt it was better to discuss it with the president first.”
The sources said Buhari told the governors that he would look into the matter, pointing out that it was a sensitive matter that needed a careful consideration.
As at August this year, the national oil corporation’s subsidy had risen to N3billion daily.
Another THISDAY source said a recent Supreme Court landmark judgment, which had ordered the federal government to adjust its share of proceeds from the sale of crude oil whenever the price exceeds $20 per barrel might have also been discussed.
This belief was spurred by the invitation of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to the meeting after it had taken off.
The Supreme Court had on October 18, ruled on a suit brought by the Attorneys-General of Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States on the terms of settlement between AGF and the plaintiffs.
The seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, had in a unanimous judgment, ruled that 13 per cent derivation accruable to oil producing states should be paid upon recovery as provided for in Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The plaintiffs, that is, the Attorneys-General of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko; Bayelsa State, Mr. Wodu Kemasukde; and the Rivers State, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN), now deceased, had in November 2017 sought the apex court’s interpretation of Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act in suit number SC964/2016 filed on their behalf by Mr. Lucius Nwosu (SAN).
This section places an obligation on the federal government to adjust the shares of crude oil revenue accruable to the federation whenever the price exceeds $20 per barrel.
The plaintiffs had asked the court to determine if the federal government was not obliged to abide by the provision of the constitution as the grund norm of the land.
Accordingly, the matter was resolved in their favour as the eminent jurists asked the federal government to accordingly adjust the sharing formula once the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel.
In a swift reaction to the judgment, Dickson had through his media aide, Fidelis Soriwei, praised the apex court for its courage to uphold the tenets of the constitution, saying it had further rekindled the confidence of the people of the Niger Delta whom he said had been deprived of their rights, in the judiciary.
He said, “We commend the Supreme Court of Nigeria for upholding the rule of law. The courageous intervention of the court in this case and other cases is what is needed to bring confidence to the long suffering people and communities of the Niger Delta and the country at large.
“This judgment shows clearly that the judiciary is ready and has the courage in deciding cases to uphold the rights of oppressed people. We call on other courts in the judicial system to rise to the occasion in order to give the assurance that oil majors and oil block owners operating in our communities will respect the laws of the land.”
It was therefore believed that the meeting was meant to work out the modalities for the new sharing agreement.

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Posted by on Oct 31 2018. Filed under National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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