The call which was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day meeting in Uyo Sunday, called on each state in the federation to develop and control its natural resources as oil presently found in the region, may soon dry up.
The meeting which started Sunday night and snow balled in to early hours of Monday saw the Governors and leaders moving to endorse the Communiqué earlier issued by the Governors from the South-South on March 13, this year in Calabar and the one issued by the Speakers of South-South state Houses of Assembly on March 29, 2012 in Uyo on revenue allocation.
According to meeting, the two communiqués had ”regretted attempt to link the increasing insecurity in parts of Northern Nigeria to the revenue sharing formula and indeed the unfortunate and misplaced calls for a review”, insisting that ”the issue to be addressed was the introduction of fiscal federalism”.
The meeting attended by South-South Governors, members of National Assembly, Speakers of the state Houses of Assembly of BRACED states questioned the rationale of not exploiting other mineral deposits in different parts of the country while the depleting crude oil and gas reserves of the South-South region.
The communiqué, which was read by the Chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum, Senator Liyel Imoke, the Cross River State governor, also called on the states of the nation to refocus on agriculture to enable states to contribute significantly to the national purse rather than depend solely on crude oil from the South-South zone.
It however frowned on the delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), reasoning that it has negatively impacted on BRACED states and called on Federal Government, Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Finance to reactivate the bill for submission to the National Assembly, enjoining National Assembly members to ensure speedy passage of the bill into law.
On the proposed constitution amendment by the National Assembly, it admitted that it was necessary to put together ideas and appreciated the commonality of the people to speak with one voice on national issues during the constitution amendment.
”Those who are aggrieved should utilize available constitutional process to seek redress for their grievances rather than embark on destroying innocent lives and property ”, the communiqué advised, expressing its sympathy and condolences to Nigerians who lost members of their families in the various attacks by the Boko Haram.
Speaking, the host governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, reviewed the security situation in the country and commended Federal Government’s effort to contain violence, asking the government to intensify efforts in restoring law and order.
The meeting was attended by the six governors of the South-South zone, all National Assembly members from the zone, all state House of Assembly members from the zone and the representative of the President.
Also in attendance were; Hon. Leonard Ogor, Deputy Leader in the House of Representatives for South-South members of the House of Representatives; Rt. Hon. Larry Odey, Cross River Speaker for South-South speakers and Ambassador Joe Keshi, Director-General, BRACED Commission.