C’ttee fails to de­cide on re­source con­trol for third time

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Nu­rud­deen M. Ab­dal­lah

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.

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