Cross River Decries Exclusion from 13% Derivation
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Cross River State Government has lamented its exclusion from the 13 per cent oil derivation given to oil-producing states in the country following the loss of her oil wells after the Bakassi Peninsula was ceded to Cameroon.
As of now, only nine states in Nigeria – Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Abia and Lagos get the agreed derivation from the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
Governor of Cross River State, Mr Ben Ayade, said the state has been like a weeping child in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since the Bakassi issue.
Speaking when taking the Former Minister of Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, on a tour of some major projects of his administration in the state, the Governor reproached the federal government for what he said was “a gross act of insensitivity towards the state.”
“The former minister, even though not a Cross Riverian, has a deep knowledge of the pains and the sufferings of the people of Cross River State.
“I am shocked that this country is watching what is happening to this state. We are not part of the 13 per cent derivation, we are like a weeping child in NDDC, we have no say because it is on the basis of the quantum of oil produced that NDDC allocates projects.
“We have lost our oil wells, the N500 million per month as agreed is not coming, the N15 billion every two years is not coming.
“We have just been reduced to want in body, in spirit, in soul and in our finances,” Mr Ayade lamented.
On his part, the Former Minister of Aviation, Mr Fani-Kayode, decried the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, saying that it should never have been the case because Cross River State has been robbed in his view.
He also urged the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the ceding of Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, as the territory according to him, still belongs to Nigeria.
“The ruling of the court was that they (Cameroon) could take the Bakassi peninsula, but once that had been done, it had to be ratified by the Nigerian legislature and there had to be a referendum, a plebiscite for the people of Bakassi to agree to that.
“Painfully, you were not given the opportunity of having a referendum, the matter never went to the National Assembly and consequently in my view, I would argue strongly that this territory that was ceded to Cameroon was unlawful and therefore still belongs to Nigeria.
“And if I were President Buhari today, and I remember vividly his promises during campaigns where he said he will look into the issue of Bakassi if elected president. I would urge him to return our honour to us as a nation.”
Nigeria had always engaged with Cameroon over the territorial ownership of the Bakassi region up until 2007 when then-president, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, and President Paul Biya of Cameroon resolved the dispute in talks led by the United Nations.
On November 22, 2007, the Nigerian Senate rejected the transfer, since the Greentree Agreement ceding the area to Cameroon was contrary to Section 12(1) of the 1999 Constitution. Regardless, the territory was transferred to Cameroon on August 14, 2008.