Presidency denies re-introduction of onshore/offshore dichotomy
The Presidency has denied claims that on-shore/off-shore dichotomy has been reintroduced in the sharing of Federation Account Allocation to littoral states as it concerns crude oil revenue.
The clarification, the Presidency explained, is coming against the backdrop of the misconception arising from the recommendations of the committee constituted by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government on true federalism.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai-led committee had said: “To promote the unity of the country and ensure that states are more financially empowered to deliver services to their residents, as well as ensure no one feels disadvantaged, the committee recommends that the Federal Government should expeditiously review derivation to reflect areas of consensus which are adoption of ‘state control of resources and pay FG,’ upward review of the current formula in favour of states and adoption of similar derivation formula in favour of solid minerals and power generation.”
But addressing State House Correspondents yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the president on National Assembly matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, argued that the issue was being used to campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari.
His words; “ I speak and say again that the intendment of the APC report is to allow the states control resources and devolve more powers to the states, and consequently increase allocation to the states, of which Akwa Ibom is among.”
Enang said the ruling party’s committee in response to popular opinion, recommended an upward review of the current derivation formula and adoption of the said formula in favour of solid minerals and hydropower.
While noting that the recommendation will entail the amendment of sections of the Constitution, Enang said; “the apprehension of the contenders is that the recommendation says that the oil, gas, and other minerals devolved to the state and that off-shore belongs to the Federal Government.
“Upon the judgment in 2002, the Federal Government, at the lead of Governors of Obong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom), DSP Alamieyesigha (Bayelsa), James Ibori (Delta) and Peter Odili (Rivers) agreed with the Federal Government on behalf of the littoral States for a political solution, and this was worked out legislatively.
“Reading the judgment of Kutigi, JSC (as he then was) in the case of AG, Federation v. AG, Abia Reading the Judgment of Kutigi, JSC State & Ors (Supra) wherein His Lordship states:
“‘This court has no legislative powers and it cannot rewrite the laws. Only the legislature can lawfully and properly do that if it so wishes.’’
The presidential aide who insisted that “the above is provision of the existing law, further submitted that “No suggestion has been made for the abrogation of the 2004 Act in the recommendations, and no proposed Bill is drafted in the report.
“Finally, may l state that at no point has it recommended for on-shore-off-shore dichotomy to be re-introduced or enforced, and the Federal Government is not doing so at this moment.
“May this be enough to allay the fears of the agitated or lay to rest the malicious issues raised by false alarmists.”
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