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N’Delta Will Be Better If Allowed To Use Its Resources, Says Gov Diri

Diri expressed gratitude for the recognition and urged the Ijaw community to continue its leadership role in the Niger Delta.

By Nydra Ayibapreye

Over the weekend, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State advocated for a reconsideration of Nigeria’s revenue allocation formula to align with principles of fiscal federalism.

Diri questioned the current system where states, especially those rich in resources like those in the Niger Delta, receive only 13 percent derivation, which he argued hampers state development due to the imbalance in federalism.

He made these remarks during an event in Houston, Texas, where he was honoured with the ‘Icon of Unity and Social Justice’ award by Ijaws from the USA and Canada, organized by the Ijaw National Congress, INC-Americas.

Diri expressed gratitude for the recognition and urged the Ijaw community to continue its leadership role in the Niger Delta, while also seeking support from other ethnic groups in the region.

He said, “The Niger Delta is an area that should be better than it is if we were allowed to use our resources for our development.

“Since I arrived this country, what crossed my mind has been how Bayelsa would be if we practised true federalism whereby we get 100 per cent of our revenue from oil and gas and not 13 per cent as it is today. Maybe we would have had one small Houston in Yenagoa.”

Diri insisted that it was wrong to describe Bayelsa as insolvent and unable to exist without monthly federal allocation while its resources were being expropriated to Abuja and shared to other states in the country.

“You cannot take away the resources in my state and the internally generated revenue that would have accrued to us and expropriate it in the name of Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Every month end, the 36 states in the country gather in Abuja to share resources accruing from my state and they still come back to insult us that our state is insolvent.

“I have never seen anywhere in the world where the essence of the FAAC is to share revenue only from oil and gas. What about the revenue from other mineral resources like gold? Why are they not also shared? This is the naked truth.”

He implored them to safeguard the flame of Ijaw nationalism that has been ignited, ensuring the continuity of the annual event, and pledged his administration’s full support.

Also recognized during the event were former Nigerian First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and renowned author and Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, King Bubaraye Dakolo. Among the attendees were President of the INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, his predecessor Chief Joshua Fumudoh, Chairman of INC-Americas, Mr. Kenneth Anga, and former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, alongside other distinguished guests.

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