By Abdulbaqi Jari
The nine oil producing states of the Niger Delta comprising Imo, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Cross rivers, Ondo and Abia are simply taking too much resources from Nigeria. These states if they are left to go on their own, cannot make up a nation, considering the example of South Sudan, and when if they do, they cannot defend it from internal and external crisis.
What surprises is the amount of resources they are receiving from the federal government, oil companies, internal revenue etc. Each and every year, 40 percent of Nigeria’s budget goes to the Niger Delta. They go to them in so many ways. They go to them through the Niger Delta development commission, Ministry of Niger Delta, the 13 percent derivation etc.
In 2014 for example, the ministry of Niger Delta budgeted 111 billion naira for 2014 and the Niger Delta development commission budgeted 322 billion naira. With about 2.6 million barrels produce at 100 dollars per day, Nigeria will realize over 30 billion dollars from oil this year. 13 percent of that will go to the Niger Delta. So are many other projects are going to them from various ministries, departments and agencies.
And then with the direct looting of up to 40% of oil through bunkering and high sea piracy, the Niger Delta approximately takes as much as 80% of Nigeria’s oil output.
Why is it that the people of the Niger Delat are still as poor as other ordinary Nigerians from other regions? Is it that their governors are looting away their money? Or is the fault from the federal government? The people of Niger Delta claim that oil has ruined their farms, their waters; oil has killed oil their fishes. It is true and very sad. But still desert encroachment due to local and visitors’ activity in the north is killing and destroying many lands but the government did not create ministry of northern desert.
Now that violence has virtually ruined the whole of the North east, yet the government did not create any ministry of north east. The north central -Niger state to be specific is producing more than half the power Nigeria is producing from water hydro-electric resource. It is even called the “Power state”, why is it that still the federal government did not create ministry of Niger state? Lagos and Kano states account for over 80 percent of what enters Nigeria and it is the business capitals, yet the federal government did not create ministry of Lagos and Kano states?
The people of Niger Delta should be realistic and stop all their unnecessary agitation. We are one people, and the poor should be together in this problem, rather than playing arrow-head for the spears of the bloated, thieving governors and Presidents.
Comrade Abdulbaqi Aliyu Jari
Usmanu Danfodiyo University