An emergency General Assembly of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, was held (virtual) on Monday, 25th October 2021. The Meeting which was chaired by the National Chairman of PANDEF, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE, had in attendance Critical and Strategic Stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region; including Representatives of Governors, Former Governors, Members of National Assembly both serving and former, Retired Top Military & Security Officers, Members of PANDEF Board of Trustees, Presidents of Ethnic Organizations, First Class Traditional Rulers, Leaders of Oil and Gas Host Communities, Women and Youth Leaders, Civil Activists as well as Niger Deltans in the Diaspora.
2. Elder statesman and PANDEF National Leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON, delivered a goodwill message at the meeting while the Director-General of BRACED Commission, Ambassador Joe Keshi, OON, gave a keynote speech.
3. The Meeting extensively discussed a Bill cited as Constitution (Alteration) Bill 2021, intending to delete Subsection 2, Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), sponsored by 59 Members of the House of Representatives from the Northern part of the Country; given its socio-economic consequences on the Niger Delta Region and the Country at large.
4. Arising therefrom, the Meeting resolved as follows:
i. Noted that following the Richard’s Constitution of 1946 and Macpherson’s Constitution of 1951, Derivation Principle became a major factor in Revenue Allocation in Nigeria. And was reflected in both the 1960 Constitution and 1963 Constitution.
ii. That the principle of derivation as encapsulated under the proviso to Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), was aimed at providing recompense to the producers of any natural resources for the expropriation and sequestration of their rights to control and manage same, by the Nigerian State.
ii. That when revenues from cocoa (in the West), groundnut (in the North), and Palm Produce and Coal (in the East) were the nation’s economic mainstay, derivation in the Revenue Allocation principle was not less than 50 per cent.
iii. Noted that derivation, as a revenue allocation principle, has been resolutely suppressed since crude oil became the country’s major revenue earner. Meanwhile, oil and gas exploration activities have degraded the hitherto luxuriant, healthy ecosystem of the Niger Delta, and damaged the indigenous people’s means of livelihood, with little or no effort to ameliorate their consequential dire standard of living.
iii. Therefore, insists that the principle of derivation in revenue allocation in Nigeria cannot be deleted from the Constitution.
iv. Notes that it is not only against the principles of fairness, equity and justice but atrocious and wicked to contemplate deleting derivation principle from the Nation’s Constitution.
5. Therefore, the Meeting:
i. Unequivocally and in full resolution, condemns the obnoxious and Satanic Bill intended to delete Subsection 2, Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and describes the Bill as a “Legislative Coup” against Oil and Gas Producing States and Regions of the Country.
ii. Warns that the Niger Delta people are ready and mobilized to dispense full resistance against this wicked machination and any future attempt to further Economically Emasculate the Region and its people. We will resist this Satanic and Senseless Coup with every fibre in our being. If they move one more step, we will respond in kind.
iii. Describes the sponsors of the Bill, the 59 ignominious, and barefacedly dishonourable Members of the House of Representatives and their clandestine backers, as “Terrorists”, who do not care about the peace, progress and corporate existence of Nigeria.
iv. Reminds the 59 dubious and rapacious Members of the House of Representatives, their Sponsors and indeed all Nigerians that the Derivation principle was negotiated by the founding fathers of Nigeria before Independence and it cannot be deleted now. And that any attempt to do so is a call to anarchy.
v. Implores President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to focus attention on addressing the fundamental issues confronting the country, instead of further stoking the ambers of discord and disharmony.
vi. Notes that the extant 13% derivation has not been reviewed for 22 years, despite the constitutional provision for review of revenue allocation every five (5) years, to reflect changing economic realities.
vii. Consequently, DEMANDS AN IMMEDIATE INCREASE OF THE 13% DERIVATION TO 50%.
That, the position of the Niger Delta People is 50% Derivation, and nothing less.
6. The Meeting was held in an atmosphere of peace and collective commitment to the decisions.
7. Done this 25th Day of October 2021.
Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE
National Chairman Akwa Ibom State
Chief Hon. Thompson Okorotie, OFR
Deputy National Chairman
Senator Bassey Ewa- Henshaw
PANDEF State Chairman
Cross Rivers State
Prof. G. G. Darah
PANDEF State Chairman
Dame Betty Igbeyi
PANDEF National Woman Leader
Prof. B. B. Fakae
Member, PANDEF BoT