Bayelsa State Governor Duoye Diri has slammed what he described as misconceptions about how oil exploration commenced in Nigeria.
Diri made this clarification on Thursday during an interview on Channels TV monitored by Ripples Nigeria in response to popular claims that revenue from agriculture, through cocoa sales, was responsible for the oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
The Governor said, “A lot of people make a mistake and say we used cocoa money to develop oil, that’s not true.
“Multinational, international oil companies came with the capital in oil exploration and exploitation. There was no money from Nigeria, every money that came was monies from those who came to develop oil here. These are the issues Nigeria needs to resolve.”
Governor Diri also pointed out the injustice over the federal allocation revenue system, to Bayelsa State and the Niger-Delta region.
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The Governor spoke about this situation in response to a question about the appaling financial situation of Bayelsa State.
“The question you will ask yourself is that, is that fair, is that just, that what is generated here as income comes back to Bayelsa State as federal allocation.
“And maybe, truly, a paltry federal allocation. And those are the issues that we have been talking about: that you cannot have the whole chunk of money generated from our land here and taken to the federal and shared to the states, and in the end you now say Bayelsa State is insolvent.
“And that’s why we are talking about restructuring, that’s why we are talking about the amendment of our country’s constitution. A constitution that says land surface rights belongs to the people, and what is under that land belongs to Federal Government. There is no justice in it. And anybody who bandies these figures, you are annoying the people of Bayelsa State, and indeed the people of the Niger-Delta.
“So, for us, we need to rework our constitution; we need to restructure our country, in a way that we can approximate our own resources here and pay tax to the Federal Government. And nobody will be talking about Bayelsa State being insolvent or any other state in the Niger Delta for that matter.
“If Bayelsa state is insolvent, then it means Nigeria is insolvent. From where you get all your resources, and the resources are not ploughed back here. And you say the state is insolvent?” Diri explained.
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