By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
Cross River State has received an unfair treatment from the Federal Government in the distribution of the commonwealth said the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade Monday in Calabar, the state’s capital.
“You took our land, took our oil wells, took us out of 13 per cent derivation fund and reduced us to a weeping child in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The pain is incalculable. We are a captured people by the Federal Government. We have no say because it does not matter. We practice ethnocracy and so it does not matter how the people of Bakassi and Cross River as a whole are in pains” Ayade told a delegation of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission led by the Chairman Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed when they paid him a courtesy call.
He described as unfair, the meager allocation the state has received since a supreme court ruling had ceded 76 oil wells to neighboring Akwa Ibom state consequent upon the ceding of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon and wondered the indices used by the RMAFC to calculate wealth redistribution.
Ayade who maintained that Cross Riverians now “feel like captives in a place the call their own” said the state is contemplating legal actions against the federal government for not obeying the Supreme Court judgment which directed it to give succor to the displaced people of Bakassi and in extension, the state.
He said the loss of oil wells at the height of the oil boom and the Federal Government has through deliberate actions inflicted pain on Cross Riverians as they did not find permanent solutions to the fiscal challenges arising from the action which has seen the state almost grind to a halt.
”Today we have NDDC, whose projects are based on percentage of oil production. So, look at what we have lost from the perspective of NDDC which keeps us as a crying child who is just in NDDC by geography not by production as the sharing formula here is by quantum of oil production coupled with the fact that today also , we no longer benefit from the 13 percent derivation.
“If not for President Buhari I am sure that even the superhighway and Bakassi Deep Seaport (being developed by the state) would have been killed by now. But how can a people feel like captives in a place they call their own?” Ayade said.
Continuing, he said that; “Federal Government created a permanent injury and sought a temporary solution. So, there is a permanent loss of oil well and temporary allocation of revenue, how does that work?”
On the indices for calculating wealth redistribution, he posited that; “If I have to link two villages in Cross River State the minimum kilometers you are going to do is 5 to 6 kilometers because that state’s landmass is 21,000 square kilometers while you are dealing with sister states in the Niger Delta with 3,000 square kilometers. You need to put six states together to give you our land mass.”
“I do not know how you calculated and factored the revenue that comes to Cross River without considering land mass. If land mass was a factor, land mass alone will have given us more allocation that any other state in the South South.
“If oil was the issue, they you should also know that you have not given a dime for frontier exploration of our gas and hydrocarbon deposits.”
He charged the commission to use the opportunity of their visit, which is a fact finding one, to write a report that will right the wrongs done to the state over the years.
Earlier, Alhaji Aliyu had disclosed that the state as at February 2017, had received 37.5 Billion Naira out of the 38 Billion Naira approved as the augmentation of the state’s allocation which will elapse in May 2017.
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