KUKU BACKS CALLS FOR REVIEW OF REVENUE ALLOCATION FORMULA
THE Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Matters, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, has thrown his weight behind the rising agitation by northern leaders for a review in the sharing formula of oil revenue accruing to country.
Kuku said though the concern raised in the South over the development for the North to raise the issues of imbalance in the revenue sharing formula is misplaced, convening a revenue allocation conference is needed and timely for the whole region to address injustices in various parts of the country.
Kuku, who was one of the founding members of the Ijaw Youth Congress, told newsmen during his tour of the site of the Gas Rig explosion in Koluama community of Southern Ijaw Local Council, that such conference would afford the people of the Niger Delta region an opportunity to demand true federalism and resource control.
According to him, 'the people of the region had been clamouring for a political system that would allow each region to control its wealth and contribute a percentage to the centre. The 13 per cent derivation given to the region by the Federal Government was inadequate wondering why the country had refused to increase the percentage despite the provision of the constitution that the region should be given not less than 13 per cent.'
He noted that a revenue allocation conference might compel the people to fall back on the 1963 conference, which provided for 50 per cent derivation. 'On the issue of reduction or review of what comes to Niger Delta in terms of allocation let me say it clearly that I am ready for that conference. If I am nominated by the Niger Delta people it will be a surprise to many people that it will be stated that we must agree with those northerners, who are agitating for a revenue allocation conference.'
'There should be a review so that the Niger Delta people can have 100 per cent or 80 per cent of their revenue. This is a clamour from the north that is supportive of what we have been saying all over the world that everybody must have their resources and contribute to the centre. There should be a central government where we will all contribute.'
He, however, noted that the Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu had clarified his position on the controversial issue observing that the governor had denied agitating for reduction in revenue allocated to the region by the government. He said he agreed with Aliyu's clarification that the country should have a platform to address disturbing poverty in the North.
'I want to agree with him here that there is poverty all over the country. There is poverty in the north and unexpected poverty in the Niger Delta with the kind of resources we have given to this country. There is poverty in the north you cannot argue it. Only few people in the north are wealthy. There are wealthier people in the south than in the north. So, Nigeria needs to sit down and put together a national platform to address poverty eradication in this country.'