“Imo State has suffered great inequalities in revenue sharing and we demand justice and fair play as the measure of justice.”
Imo state governor Hope Uzodinma has called for a special fund to be set up to compensate Nigeria’s southeastern zone for losses during the civil war.
Mr Uzodinma made the call while announcing the zonal public hearing for southeast states to review the current revenue allocation formula in Nigeria, organized by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in Owerri, according to a press release released on Wednesday of the Governor’s Spokeswoman, Oguwike Nwachuku
Mr Uzodinma said the creation of such a fund became necessary because the three-year civil war resulted in the loss of millions of lives, with women and children losing their breadwinners.
He talked about how the devastation caused by the Boko Haram uprising led to the establishment of the Northeast Development Commission, the Niger Delta Development Commission, due to militancy in the south-south, arguing that there was enough reason to create the south-east Development Commission as a special fund to provide support to the people of the region who were devastated in the war.
He praised the “courageous steps” the RMAFC has taken towards a review of the current revenue distribution formula and urged them to investigate the oil well dispute between the states of Imo and Rivers “with a view to a settlement in the interests of justice.” .
“The state of Imo has the highest gas reserves in Nigeria to date, income from these reserves and production does not flow to the state.
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“Imo State has suffered great injustices in revenue sharing and we demand justice and fair play as the measure of justice.
“Injustice has turned into gross underdevelopment of the oil and gas producing areas, causing youth unrest, insecurity and other vices,” said Governor Uzodinma.
He commissioned state oil and gas companies to develop a process that would lead to the creation of a value chain and reinvest the proceeds in the producing areas.
The governor has given the Commission legislative and executive support to enable it to achieve more as a “committed” organization.
“Imo needs petrochemical industries, fertilizer factories and other oil and gas companies to improve their economies, create jobs and contain the tide of insecurity,” he said.
In his address, the chairman of the commission, Elias Mbam, thanked the governor and other participants for attending the public hearing.
Mr Mbam said the powers to review revenue-sharing formulas from time to time were derived from Part 1 of the Third Annex to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
“The review is designed to ensure consistency with changing realities and these changes have, among other things, informed the Commission to begin reviewing the formula to reflect changing realities.
“There have been several socio-economic and political changes since the revenue allocation formula was last revised in 1992.
“The Commission will seriously consider all views and recommendations emerging from the public hearing,” he said.