The Itsekiri Liberation Group, ILG, has issued strongly worded warnings over alleged plans by 59 northern legislators to amend the 1999 Constitution and remove the 13% derivation fund to the Niger Delta.
Arising from an emergency meeting of the group, the ILG said through its chairman, Comrade Mone Oris, and the secretary – Comrade Ajofotan Omagbemi in a communique made available to the GbaramatuVoice on Monday, November 1, 2021 that: “after critically observing the antics of some overfed and indulgent 59 northern legislators and their body movement as well as the possible force propelling them in this counterproductive and tinderbox misadventure.
“The Itsekiri Liberation Group, a body of seasoned Itsekiri nationalists and opinion moulders in Warri kingdom, has come up with the following irreducible demands from the legislative and executive arms of the Nigerian government.
“We have considered the danger in the contemplated amendment of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) with the patently sinister and mischievous intent by some 59 Northern Legislators to remove the 13 percent derivation fund in exclusive benefit to the Niger Delta States and do wish to state unequivocally our no-holds barred opposition and outright rejection of same with an immediate call on these overfed and indulgent neo-colonialist oligarchs to stop such evil intentions, in the interest of equity and justice so as not to escalate the already fragile peace in the oil-producing communities/States in the federation.
“For emphasis and without apology to anyone, the Itsekiri nation remains a strategic host to many multinational oil and gas companies and major producer oil and gas resource assets (about 39 percent in its territory). We see this proposal/attempt as indirect form of modern colonization, nay slavery; an attempt to continue enslaving and under developing the Itsekiri nation in particular and the other Niger Delta ethnic nationalities in general, that feed the larger federation.
“We are compelled to believe that the proposed amendment is subtly aimed at removing the 13% derivation principle accruing to Niger Delta. Therefore, we totally reject such contemplation and intent by an infinitesimal group of lawmakers who should rather strive in the interest of equity and noble justice for the sustainers of the nations economy, to increase this derivation percentage that has stalled for more than three decades and counting, in the nations polity,” it said.
Not yet done, it demanded that: “If anything, the Itsekiri Liberation Group would rather and reasonably so, demand a gradual and steady increased derivation accruing to oil and gas from the current 13% to 25% and 50% for the Niger Delta States, in the same manner that the North and other regions of the country at a point in time in the nations trajectory once enjoyed 100% derivatives from their hides and skins, tin, coal, cocoa, rubber, groundnut, etc with which they were able to build massive regional monuments and landmarks in their territories.
“To this end, we equally demand that the Federal Government and the law makers focus their attention with speedy legislative engagements on the increment of the 3% in the Petroleum Industry Act and fashion out how it can be maximally utilized to increase the tempo of development of the host communities. They should equally fashion out how the management of such fund could be actioned most seamlessly without undue and boggling bureaucracy and interference of the known and unknown interests especially from the north.