03 August 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — A Niger Delta stakeholder and elder statesman in Rivers State, Mr. Lawrence Jumbo, says the promise by President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit the 13 percent derivation benefits to the Niger Delta states is not necessary, rather the country should be restructured.
Recall that the president had during a visit by Isoko Traditional Rulers Council in Delta State to the Presidential Villa in Abuja, last week promised to revisit the constitutional 13 percent derivation benefit to ensure an even spread of developmental projects across the region.
Jumbo, who was a presidential aspirant under the defunct Social Democratic Party during the 1992 national election, argued that states should be allowed to control their resources and pay tax to the federal government.
He explained that Nigeria as a country was too big to have a unitary government, maintaining that some powers should be transferred to the states in order to help reorganise the country.
“I do not think we should be talking about derivation now because we do not want derivation what we want is restructuring of the country. Nigeria is too bid to have a unitary government where everything is decided from Abuja, I think restructuring will help the country to be more efficient.
“The Federal Government has too much and it makes that position to be too powerful, that is why there is always a big fight on who will be President. So if the country is restructured some powers will devolve to the States and the States will be able to pay tax to the federal government,” he said.
Jumbo also asserted that states should also be allow to have their own police to curb crime, adding that the burden on the Nigeria Police was much.
“To me I think the Nigerian Police is over burdened with problems like militancy and terrorism but restructuring the country will enable the sates have their police force to help them handle some challenges within their domain,” he said.
The elder statesman also said that plans by the Federal Government to site a refinery in Katsina State will incapacitate the refineries in the Niger Delta, explaining that the gesture is not ideal.
He urged the Federal Government to make the existing refineries work optimally and allow more employment into the refineries, adding that the people of the area have not benefited from the oil sector.
“It is only right to build more refineries in the Niger Delta, going to Kastina to build another one will only kill the ones in the Niger Delta and this injustice,” he said.