IYC carpets FG over abuse of regional development agencies

• warned against funding from crude oil revenues

The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has carpeted the Federal Government over what it termed the proliferation of regional development agencies across regions of the country.

“As the proliferation of Bills already flooded on the floor of the 9th National Assembly for the establishment of regional development agencies, IYC wishes to question the rationale for their establishments, especially as it concerns their funding.

“Though we are not against the establishment of such bodies, our concern is their funding,” Pereotubo Oweilaemi, Esq.
President, IYC worldwide, enthused.

The IYC said with the manner the 9th Assembly is introducing agencies such as North Central Development Commission and North West Development Commission, among others, after the North East Development Commission came on stream through the 8th Assembly, “history may want to repeat itself about the funding.”

IYC’S fears, according to Oweilaemi, Esq., is that the source of the funding of the agencies will come from no other, but the Niger Delta crude oil!

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“We believe that these agencies are not going to be funded with oil money from the Niger Delta.

“The funding of the North East Development Commission is shrouded in secrecy as we believe strongly that it’s being funded with oil money.

“This broad day robbery of our exclusive economic right should not be replicated in the incoming bodies,” the Ijaw youths warned.

Rather, the IYC enjoined the governors from the northern region to publicly inform the nation how the regional development agencies they are suddenly obsessed with would be funded.

“Just as the governors from the South East region has made it clear that the South-East Development Commission is going to be jointly funded by them, the governors from the north should also come clear how they want their regional development agencies to be funded.

“This was how the then Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the chairmanship of General Olusegun Obasanjo exercised legislative powers at the Federal level, made the greatest mockery of the Ijaws by promulgating River Basin Development Authorities Decree and the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority Decree.

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“The former established 10 other River Basin Development Authorities for every river, rivulet, creek and brook in the rest of Nigeria. The latter established the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority.

“The Nigeria State, using the barrel of the gun, proliferated river basin authorities using the oil wealth derived from the Ijaw Land.

“It then went to categorize these development agencies from category A to D in order of importance for discriminatory funding.

“The Niger Delta Basin Development Authority, supposedly an offshoot of the defunct Niger Delta Development Board was placed in category D while Sokoto Rima Basin Development Authority was placed in category A.

“We reproduce hereunder the statistics of the funding of the River Basin Development Authorities in Nigeria from 1970-1983: Sokoto River Basin Authority N650,670,441; Chad River Basin Authority N296,557,606; Hadeija-Jamaara River Basin Authority N286,810,966; Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority; N183,595,638; Upper Benue River Basin Authority N139,524,063.

“Others are Niger River Basin Authority N131,115,438; Anambra Imo River Basin Authority N118,307,366; Lower Benue River Basin Authority N102,323,405; Benin-Owena Basin Authority N89,921,231; Niger Delta Basin Development Authority N76,662,210, while Cross River Basin Authority N60,631,023,” the Ijaw youths recalled.

IYC, therefore, conjectured that the regional development commission Bills were “another subtle move to deny Niger Delta of her right to development by diverting attention to the other regions as they did to the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority,” warning that “we will not allow history to repeat itself.”

It called on the National Assembly to make the funding aspects clearer, reiterating that “No oil revenue should be used to develop those agencies when the northern region is already getting a lion share of the government’s attention due to the flawed federal structure.”

The group wondered why the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is being starved of funds and owed trillions of naira by the Federal Government.

“The Amnesty Programme is more of cosmetic as did not solve our problems. The Ministry of Niger Delta is administratively dead as the FG has tactically merged the Ministry with the NDDC in order to deny the region the attention is supposed to get.

“The FG can set up as many development commissions as it wants across the country, but every regional development commissions should be funded with monies from that region.

“That, itself, automatically, will take the country to the path of true federalism and of course, there is going to be competition which will boost our economy in no smaller measures,” the youths umbrella averred.

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