From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The apex leadership of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) has raised an alarm that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), signed into law recently by President Muhammadu Buhari is a gargantuan move by some vested interest in the core north to permanently hijack the assets of the indigenous people of the southern territory of Nigeria.
NINAS is the coordinating platform for the umbrella bodies of self-determination groups in the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria with Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) representing the South West, Lower Niger Congress (LNC) representing the South South and South East and Middle Belt Renaissance Movement (MBRM) representing the Middle Belt Region.
The group made the observation in a statement signed by its Chairman, Prof Banji Akintoye, and made available to newsmen in Ibadan, Oyo State on Friday by his Communications Manager, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye.
According to the statement, a critical analysis of the Act has shown that non-oil producing states with no environmental degradation like Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa and Katsina are to benefit more from the PIA than oil producing states of Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Delta, Abia, Imo, and Rivers.
The act, NINA alleged, is the biggest fraud of the 21st Century against the people of Southern Nigeria, whose assets and sovereignty are already manipulated allegedly by some tiny-ruling elites. The group, however, threatened that it would apply the instrumentalities of the law and intellectualism to repel the act.
NINAS also cautioned governors within the alliance territory to expect a never-before-seen mass revolt of the people should any of them cede an inch of their ancestral land to the central government for Fulani herdsmen grazing reserves.
“For the sake of clarity, the much-publicized PIA allocated three per cent of total oil revenue to oil producing communities in the Niger Delta Regions of Delta, Imo, Abia, Edo, Ondo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa with massive environmental degradation and health hazard, while 30 per cent of the total oil revenue were allocated to the Northern States under the guise of funding oil exploration in frontier basins such as Sokoto, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Bauchi, and so on.
“The economic implication of this act is that 30 per cent of the profit accrued from oil revenue explored from the South will be given to the Northern States for oil search that may never be found till eternity.
“With these funds, we can now say without any fear or favour that some states mentioned above that contribute little or nothing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generate almost zero Value Added Tax (VAT) to the federation account would now be more financially buoyant than oil producing states through the fraudulent PIA.
“When taken in conjunction with the Federation Account sharing system in the fraudulent and murderous 1999 Constitution that shares oil revenues based on Local Government Areas (LGA) that has been manipulated to give higher numbers of local government areas to the far north – Kano and Lagos both started out with 20 local government areas, but now Kano and Jigawa have 71 local government areas, while land size that completely favours the far north, and population that is easily manipulated, the apartheid of the South to Middle Belt has been tightened to drive more than the current 100million Nigerians into more abject poverty.”