Port Harcourt — Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has appealed to the Federal Government to see what special incentives and intervention that can be given to support his state, following the loss of 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State.
Recall that in 2012, Cross River State lost 76 oil wells to its neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, while the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula was ceded to Cameroon in 2002, following a ruling from the International Court of Justice.
The governor tasked the Federal Government to do a sober reflection on the challenging situation confronting his state with a view to offering succour, following the lost of the oil which has affected 13pecent derivation accruable to the state.
Ayade who made the plea during a courtesy call on him by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola in Calabar, regretted that ex-agitators in the state have not been captured in the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
He lamented that as a result of the lost oilwells, the state was suffering incidental damages as even the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, had taken them away from 13percent derivation.
According to him, “We are in such a situation that I would not want to speak on camera, but indeed our finances have gone to the lowest level, occasioned by the loss of our oil wells, occasioned by the ceding of Bakassi.
“Indeed, NDDC took us away from the 13 percent derivation and under NDDC, the quantum of work done or budget allocated to your state is a factor of the amount of oil produced and now that we have been manually taken away from oil producing states, we therefore also suffer the incidental damage associated with the loss of the oil wells.
“So NDDC funding to Cross River State is the lowest among the NDDC states.
“13percent derivation is gone, oil wells gone, Bakassi gone, all our own militants who also surrendered under the instruction of the federal government to be taken into amnesty has been an impossible thing.
“While every other state is under the amnesty program, Cross River State is not. I say this in melancholy just to give you a background of the circumstance of our state.”
“I believe that as you go before the Federal Executive Council, in presenting your budget, let them look beyond your report and see what special incentives and intervention that can be give you to support Cross River State,” the governor appealed to the Works and Housing Minister.
While soliciting the intervention of the Minister who was in the state to undertake an assessment of roads done by states governments over the years for refunds, Governor Ayade said, “Cross River has continued to bear the brunt of depreciation of all federal roads in the state, on account of high incidence of massive trucks going on our roads, as it remains the major source of raw materials for building projects in the entire South-South.”
Earlier, Fashola disclosed that his visit to Cross River State, his second within two weeks was at the instance of Mr President, was for the Presidential Committee which the Ministry of Works chairs, to undertake an assessment of roads in respect of which States Governments have claimed the refunds for interventions done over the years.
“Our mandate from Mr. President remains the same. We are not in competition with any state and our duty is to provide all the support that we can to every state government to achieve developmental objectives. Our visit here has taken us to the inspection of a couple of roads.
“Our mandate is also to assess the level of intervention that we have undertaken on those roads to verify that they were actually done and we have gone and we have seen, we will submit our report and we will present it before the Federal Executive Council to take a decision with respect to the claims by your state.
“If and hopefully when, any of the states receives their claim, they should be ready to also own up that they have contributed to the public debt and investment in infrastructure.
“Perhaps it bears repeating that Cross River serves as a major source of building materials for the south-south and most parts of the country; for quarry, granites, rods, stones and also cement. And that means that the tonnage exerted on federal roads that carry these drops is quite much.”