Niger Delta – Amaechi Seeks Fifty Percent Derivation
23 October 2008
Posted to the web 23 October 2008
GOVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has called for the increase of derivation to fifty percent.
Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, at an interactive forum with the technical committee on the Niger Delta set up by the Federal Government, Amaechi stated that if the issue of fiscal federalism could not be address, then derivation should be increased to 50 percent.
“If they can’t address the issue of fiscal federalism, then, they should increase derivation to fifty percent. And doing this does not require the amendment of our constitution… the law says not more than thirteen percent, so that means that derivation can be increased to whatever percentage. Our laws are very clear on this. So we don’t need any constitution amendment to achieve this,” Amaechi stated.
Governor Amaechi said that the Niger Delta has been neglected over the years by successive regimes. He specifically fingered the immediate past administration of Obasanjo for its failure to do much for the region.
He said, “all through the eight years of Obasanjo, no major infrastructure was done in Rivers State by the Obasanjo government. You can’t find any. I don’t know about other states but in Rivers State, he did nothing.
“The Federal Government needs to embark on a massive infrastructural development in the Niger Delta. The region has been neglected for too long. We don’t have schools, no hospitals… Government should be able to provide cheap and accessible education, if it can’t be free.
As a matter of necessity and urgency, government must do this and also provide good quality healthcare.”
Responding to a question from Mr. Sam Amuka, a member of the committee, the Rivers State Governor maintained his stance that most of what was going on in the region today as militancy, was actually criminality.
“Criminals have hijacked the struggle. Most of what is going on in the Niger Delta today is outright criminality not militancy. In my State, I have criminals saying they are militants. One of them (names withheld) told former President Obasanjo before me and Ex governor Odili that he has killed over 2,000 Rivers men and women. I can’t sit down and negotiate with that kind of person.
He is a criminal. My little knowledge of militancy tells me that it is ideological in nature but these people have no ideology. The way out is the enforcement of the law and the federal government has to enforce the law.”
“There must be a new value re-orientation for these criminals to change… and the first step is to enforce the law so that the criminals know that there is punishment for crime. No matter what is done between now and probably the next five years, we cannot recover what we have lost because of the activities of these criminals. We are losing rapidly. The oil economy has moved out of the Niger Delta…”
As Amaechi spoke, not a few members of the committee nodded their heads in agreement. Secretary to the Committee, commended Amaechi for his ‘strength of conviction’ and frank comments.