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Confab: C'tee fails to agree on derivation, resource control

By The Citizen
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After seven hours of closed-door deliberations on Monday, the Committee on Devolution of Power emerged without a decision on the twin issues of derivation principle and resource control at the on-going National Conference in Abuja.

The committee could equally not resolve the argument and counter argument by some delegates from different geo-political zones that the onshore-offshore oil dichotomy be reintroduced in states whose minerals are located off the coasts of their states.

With little smiles but more straight faces, most of the members declined comments when asked to speak on their individual positions on the issues that have attracted intense debate for three straight days.

However, as it was last week, delegates from the North had spoken in support of reduction in derivation principle or at best retention of the existing 13 percentage while delegates from the South, particularly those from the South-South geo-political zone, want more.

On the issue of reintroduction of the abolished onshore-offshore oil dichotomy, some delegates from the South West geo-political zone agreed with those from the North that the abolition carried through an Act of the National Assembly should be reintroduced.

Arguments by delegates from the oil bearing states bordered on the belief that reintroduction of the obnoxious onshore-offshore oil dichotomy will take the country many years backward and create or bring back some situations that the National Conference was called to discuss and find solutions to.

Other delegates from the South were said to have argued that the demand for premature scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs could reintroduce the same problems those agencies were created to solve.

Co-Chairman of the Committee, Obong Victor Attah, had informed journalists after the morning session that each of the committee members had opportunity to state their positions on the issues and was optimistic that the committee would arrive at a decision by the end of the day.

This however did not happen at the close of sitting on Monday. Attah said the committee had completed debates on the issues and that by Tuesday morning, he was confident that a decision that would not rob any part of the country of its rights would be taken.

He said after every member had spoken on the issue, it was decided that they should all go and ponder over the issues raised by individuals and come back refreshed in the morning for a final decision.

Committee members were advised not to take any decision in the direction that would create disequilibrium in the system. They were admonished to think beyond oil and gas as the only mineral resources in the country.