Urhobo Historical Society

CONCERNED NIGER DELTANS IN THE NIGERIAN DIASPORA WRITE TO PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN SENATE ON THE MATTER OF REVENUES ACCRUING FROM SO-CALLED "OFFSHORE" OIL RESOURCES IN THE NIGER DELTA


C/O Globalvillage
P O Box 699
Round Rock, TX 78680-0699
USA

Friday, September 27, 2002
 
 

The Honorable Senate President

The Nigeria Senate
National Assembly Complex
Abuja, Nigeria
 

 Dear Senate President,

 We salute your able leadership of the Nigeria Senate and also commend your growing abilities in legislative functions toward a fully democratic Nigeria.

 We are aware of the Bill for an Act to abolish the Onshore-Offshore dichotomy in the application of the principle of derivation sent from the Presidency and currently being deliberated upon in the Nigeria Senate. As much as we accept its section that the Onshore-Offshore dichotomy need be abolished and put to permanent rest, we equally register our discontent and absolute disapproval of the substitution of “contiguous zone” for the “continental shelf” and the section that sustains prevailing 13% Derivation principle or any other percentage for that matter.

 We wish to draw your attention to the history of Derivation principles in which there have been erratic and disproportionate applications ranging from 100% in 1953, 50% in 1960, 45% in 1970, 20% in 1975, 25% in 1982, 1.55% in 1984, 3% in 1992 and 13.0% in 1999 up to 2002. Not one of these percentages can be scientifically or justifiably determined or validated using known socio-economic indices. 

 Rather, each has been the result of ill-conceived political manipulations that blatantly deny indigenous groups and States of rights to naturally endowed mineral resources, while also generating serious conflicts. Therefore, it shall be in Nigeria’s best interest to explore and adopt another workable template wherein fairness, equity, justice and peace may be guaranteed for all.

 As you fully understand, the Federal government has forcibly acquired all rights to mineral resources in Nigeria. The clamor for resource control by indigenes of the Niger Delta region represents a leading precursor to realities of serious unresolved conflicts relating to the forced acquisition of resources and is borne by frustrations at failure to secure equity and lasting resolutions. We believe that unless necessary legislative actions are speedily taken, aversions to governmental authority and violence will escalate and the region may soon become ungovernable. 

 A recent Supreme Court ruling referred to ancient English laws as a basis for its decision. We also bring to your attention a conveniently forgotten fact. There is not one law in the English law books today that was decreed by Oliver Cromwell who violently overthrew the government of his country. On the contrary, the English made sure that such a situation would never repeat itself. It hasn’t for about a thousand years! 

 Therefore, it is our humble opinion that this current legislature should repeal and render null and void, all decrees promulgated by Nigeria’s un-elected military governments. You should also lay a foundation for Nigeria’s democracy that will last the next thousand years. The military usurpers behaved as if a sunset was equivalent to the end of days. Our elected officials are expected to be wiser and more forward looking. The sun that sets today will rise again tomorrow. 

 Consequently, we firmly insist on the following: 

  1.  That existing retrogressive laws such as the Petroleum Act of 1969 and 1991, the National Waterways Decree of 1997, and the Land Use Act of 1978 and 1993, that have been variously protested against by indigenous groups and other Nigerians be repealed.
  2.  That the Bill must include a section that gives incremental rights of resource ownership to States and indigenous peoples subject to prevailing socio-economic indices. For this reason, we are inclined to suggest a starting and taxable 50% ownership rights.
  3.  That the Onshore-Offshore resource dichotomy be abolished for good.
  4.  That all concepts and principles of percentage Derivation as currently practiced or as suggested in Bill for the Allocation of Revenue (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Application of Principle of Derivation) Act 2000 be completely thrown out for 2 above.
  5.  That our State governors or legislators have neither overwhelming constituency mandate nor acceptable political preferences to advocate or vote for any form of Derivation principle or such that has been provided for in the Bill for Allocation of Revenue Act 2002.
  6.  We hasten to assure every well-meaning Nigerian that it is not our intention to monopolize the benefits accruing from mineral resources, including crude oil and bitumen that are found on our lands.
 Sir, we believe that the opportunity has availed for a permanent resolution of conflicts arising from resource control and management in Nigeria. We also believe that this august National Assembly must not rush to vote in favor of the President’s temporary solution as provided for in the Bill for Allocation of Revenue Act 2002, thereby adding to a growing list of retrogressive laws that perpetually generate conflict. Ample time, experience, knowledge and wisdom must be employed toward a new Bill that guarantees lasting peace, equity, fairness and justice for all stakeholders.

 We, as concerned citizens adversely affected by a legacy of deprivations and injustice, shall not cower to mediocrity and blatant violations of our fundamental human rights and values, citizenship rights and all articles of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. In this light, we respectfully demand that the Senate shall favorably consider our positions enumerated above.

 Thank you.

 God bless the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

 God bless the Niger Delta State!!
 

 Signed:


 Clement Ikpatt – Delaware, USA
 
 Ndanyongmong Ibanga – TX, USA

 Phillip Ilenbarenemen – Southern Minority Movement, UK

 Tom Mbeke-Ekanem – Ibom Peoples Congress, USA

 Edemma Udoh – Niger Delta, UK

 Lazarus Tamana – MOSOP, UK

 Rev. Edemekong S. Ekong - President – Mboho Akwa Ibom State, UK and Ireland

 Roland Ekperi – Ijaw Peoples Association, UK

Ume Udombang -- Atlanta, GA

Uwem Iyang -- London, England

Dr. Samuel Johnson -- Atlanta, USA

Frank Bassey -- UK

 
Rev. Nse-Ete Umoh -- Portland, OR
 
 Josef Ebong Ekerete 

 Emelda Utuk – Scotland

 Engr. Mfon D. Akpan – Georgetown, Guyana

 Rachael Ukott - Nigeria

 Leo Daniel, London – England

 Isaac Kio – UK

Solomon Disekpobagha – Odoni Development Association, UK
 

 

 CC:

 His Excellency (Chief) O. ObasanjoPresident, Federal Republic of Nigeria

 Hon. Ghali Na-AbbaSpeaker, NASS

 His Excellency Obong Victor AttahGovernor, Akwa Ibom State

 Hon. Sen. Ibrahim MantuDeputy President of the Senate

 Hon. Sen. E. I. EssienSenate Deputy Whip

 Hon. Sen. Udoma U. UdomaChairman, Appropriation Committee

 Hon. Sen. David BrigidiChairman, Petroleum Committee

 Hon. Sen. A. M. PeppleChairman, Natural Gas Committee

 Hon. Sen. Victor OyofoChairman, Niger Delta Committee

 Hon. Sen. Jim NwobodoChairman, Internal Affairs Committee

Hon. Sen. Mike AjegboChairman, Judiciary Committee

 Hon. Sen. Silas JanfaChairman, Solid Minerals Committee

 Hon. Sen. A. D. SodangiChairman, Human Rights Committee

 Hon. Sen. J. J. Akpanudo-EdeheChairman, Privatization Committee

Hon. Peter L. Umoh, Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly
 


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