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Dagogo cautions against plans to vest control of offshore oil on FG

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A representative of Degema/Bonny constituency in the House of Representatives, Farah Dagogo, has cautioned against moves to vest control of offshore oil resources on the Federal Government in line with the recommendation of the Nasir el-Rufai-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on restructuring.

Speaking with The Guardian in an interview, he described the report, particularly the aspect that deals with mineral resources, as lopsided and antithetical to the country’s unity.

He was reacting to the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF’s) decision to set up a Governance Programme Steering Committee to evolve a common governance template and revisit all policy initiatives and recommendations, including those of the El-Rufai Committee on true federalism.

But Dagogo, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member in the House, faulted the move, insisting that the committee’s report was “ferocious, very inglorious and capable of heating up the fragile peace, which had been achieved, particularly in the Niger Delta region.”

The Rivers State-born politician frowned on the recommendation on ‘Mines and Minerals’, saying, “mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological and natural gas should be moved to the Concurrent List.

“However, all offshore oil shall remain absolutely vested in the government of the federation. I think it is time to take these steps and move away from over-centralisation.”

He cautioned that such recommendations were laden with bad intentions as the Niger Delta people would not fold their hands and allow the Federal Government to continue to rip it off under any guise.

While the committee would want Nigerians to be hoodwinked by its gimmicks, it is instructive to state that the report was targeted at shortchanging the Niger Delta region, whose land has continued to produce the crude oil that feeds the Nation.

“Yet, the people are being afflicted amidst affluence, which defines the natural endowment of the area.

“How do you reconcile the committee’s line of thought that Nigeria should be bold enough to move away from over-centralisation and in another breath, recommend that all offshore oil remain absolutely vested in the Federal Government? That to me is double standards.

“Nobody should be deceived, the offshore belongs to states and the majority of them are situated in the Niger Delta. Nigeria’s extant laws defined the geography of the country as landmass with seas and rivers forming the corresponding states,” he added.


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