Confab Ends Plenary, Fails To Agree On National Issues




The National Conference on Monday ended plenary, leaving unresolved key national issues, including the disagreements over derivation, the national intervention fund and the formula to be adopted by the three tiers of government for sharing funds from the Federation Account.

The conference will however reconvene on August 4 to adopt the report of the conference before it is submitted to the Federal Government.

Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, said the 50 “wise men” and the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the 20 committees established by the delegates, had agreed that the Federal Government should set up a technical committee to address the contentious issues.

Kutigi had earlier in the morning announced to delegates that the selected members scheduled to meet with him last Friday would still meet with a view to resolving the knotty issues.

The meeting could not hold because over 60 delegates boycotted it.

He said, “I’m still of the view that the committee that is handling the matter of coming to a compromise will still do their job.

“We couldn’t have the meeting on Friday. So, I am proposing that we give them two hours to meet with us.”

He then invited the “50 Wise Men, committees co-chairmen, chairmen and Deputy Chairmen to meet now in our usual place.”

At the end of the meeting, which lasted for over four hours, it was apparent that the group of delegates were unable to agree on the issues that necessitated the call for the meeting.

But the ‘‘wise men’’ and the leadership of the 20 committees had last week claimed that they had agreed that “the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than 18 per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.

“That not less than 50 per cent of the total derivation funds accruable to a mineral bearing state shall be due and lay able to the host communities within the state where the resources are derived in accordance with the production quota contributed by such communities.

“There shall be established a Solid Mineral Development Fund, which is currently three per cent of Federal Government Account referred to by the committee on page 40 of its report, it shall be increased to five per cent and will be applied to solid minerals development in the states.”

Last week, the delegates were unable to agree on the zones that would benefit from the proposed five per cent fund.

While the northern delegates insisted that the fund must be enjoyed by the three zones in the region, which are North-East, North-West and North-Central, the southern delegates were of the view that the fund must be made available to all the zones in the country.

After the four-hour meeting on Monday, Kutigi claimed that the selected delegates had agreed on the following:

“Review the percentage of revenue allocation to states producing oil and other resources, reconstruct and rehabilitate areas affected with insurgency and internal conflict problems and diversify the Nigerian economy by stretching the Nigerian economy with solid minerals sector.”

Apart from this, he said the “conference also notes that assigning percentage for increase in derivation principles and setting up special intervention fund to address issues of reconstruction and the rehabilitation of areas ravaged by insurgency and internal conflicts as well as solid minerals development requires technical details and consideration.

“Conference therefore recommends that government should set up a technical committee to determine appropriate percentage for the three issues and advised government accordingly.”

While some delegates clapped after he finished reading the said agreement, other shouted ‘no, no.”

It was not clear why the recommendation of the committee was read by Kutigi himself.


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