C’ttee fails to decide on resource control for third time
For the third consecutive time, the committee on devolution of power’s discussion over resource control ended in stalemate as delegates failed to reach a conclusion on the issue yesterday.
After more than three hours deliberations behind closed doors, members of the committee failed to harmonise their positions on the amendment to Item 39 on the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution.
Item 39 deals with the exclusive rights of the federal government to legislate on issues regarding “mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas.”
The committee had cut-short its break time yesterday from two hours to one to enable members take a decision on the issue whose discussion started Thursday last week.
Debate over this issue has torn the committee members along regional lines. The delegates couldn’t reach a decision as each side of the divide presented incompatible positions on the issue.
While delegates from the North wanted the status quo maintained as contained in the current constitution, delegates from the South believed the item could still remain in the Exclusive Legislative List but with some modifications.
Part of the modifications, according to them, is to enable state governments have some level of involvements when legislations regarding mining of mineral resources deposited in their areas are being drafted.
This position was opposed by delegates from the North who believe that it would give an unequal advantage to the South since according to them, not all the states in the North have natural minerals.
Some delegates accused the co-chairman and former governor of Akwa Ibom state Obong Victor Attah of foot dragging on the issue.
A member of the committee from South West, Senator Anthony Adefuye said yesterday that Attah “is taking us back. We are unnecessarily foot dragging on the issue. And it is not fair.”
Buba Galadima from Yobe said the delay is unnecessary because “the committee can’t reach a consensus on the matter. And already there is a motion on ground by General Jeremiah Useni, for the committee to vote on the issue.”
He said “but the leadership of the committee seemed not dispose to the idea of voting. But that is the reality. We can’t reach a consensus since last week. So, the only thing for us now is to vote on the matter. But the leadership refused to do it.”
There was heated debate on the issue last Thursday which led to the adjournment to Monday. But the Monday sitting was stormy also with northern delegates calling for a vote on the issue.