Monday, 16 January 2017

Constitution amendment: NASS to strip FG of powers to control resources

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In a bid to strengthen the nation’s economy, the National Assembly in the ongoing constitution amendment is proposing to remove mineral resources from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to enable state governors develop all the mineral resources in their various states. This is part of the amendment to be contained in the new constitution expected to be out by March this year for onward transmission to the president for his assent. 

Meantime, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor, has described the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta region as a curse, saying the people of the region are suffering from environmental hazard as they drink polluted water and eat polluted fish because of oil exploration. 

Speaking in Abuja, Ogor who represents Isoko federal constituency (Delta State) explained that removing mineral resources from the exclusive list was aimed at taking the country back to its good olden days where regions developed their resources in their areas and used them to develop the regions without resorting to the Federal Government. 

He said: “Some of us have proposed some amendments to those provisions (mineral resources in exclusive list). We asked for some of them to be deleted and actually place in the hands of the Federal Government the core responsibility of providing security. “We have proposed a removal of virtually everything in the exclusive list and leave very minimal responsibility for the Federal Government. It has major advantage. 

It will make sure that this whole fight over who becomes the President becomes unnecessary. “We are one of the richest nations, blessed with so much resources, minerals and non minerals, but nobody is tapping them because we mistakenly found oil. I think the day we discovered oil was our dooms day. So we need to ask if we want to live for oil or oil will live for us. 

“My emphasis, the non mineral resources will also be tapped by the various states and not the Federal Government where we pay tax to the central system.” On some of the items that are expected to be removed from the exclusive list to the concurrent, he said: “As many as possible, agriculture, mineral resources, trade, etc.” 

The Federal Government is not supposed to be saddled with all those responsibilities, the exclusive list is too many. 

Oil is a curse to Niger Delta On the advantage of the passage of the PIB to the Niger Delta region, he said: “If you are going to look at it from the fact that I am from the Niger Delta and address it at that particular position, I will probably tell you let the PIB should die because the oil is not a blessing to my people rather than a curse.” 

“But because of the general interest of the Nigerian people, we will take a holistic analysis of it and make sure we pass it. My people are the ones suffering from the environmental hazard, they drink the polluted water, eat the polluted fish and what are the benefits? “They end up being treated like second class citizens in their own country with insults. But nevertheless, we definitely will not want to look at the subject matter of today.”


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