Governor Diri harps on restructuring; bemoans FG’s ‘paltry’ allocation to Bayelsa, Niger Delta states

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Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri on Thursday criticised the federal government allocation revenue system as unfair to Bayelsa State and the Niger-Delta region.

The governor who spoke on Thursday on a monitored Channels Television programme was reacting to a private sector report alluding that Bayelsa state’s finances may be in the red zone.

The governor also called for restructuring and amendment of the country’s constitution to address the grievances of the Niger Delta region.

“The question you will ask yourself is that, is that fair, is that just, that what is generated here as income comes back to Bayelsa State as federal allocation,” Mr Diri said.

“And maybe, truly, a paltry federal allocation. And those are the issues that we have been talking about: that you cannot have the whole chunk of money generated from our land here and taken to the federal and shared to the states, and in the end you now say Bayelsa State is insolvent.

“And that’s why we are talking about restructuring, that’s why we are talking about the amendment of our country’s constitution. A constitution that says land surface rights belongs to the people, and what is under that land belongs to Federal Government. There is no justice in it. And anybody who bandies these figures, you are annoying the people of Bayelsa State, and indeed the people of the Niger-Delta.

“So, for us, we need to rework our constitution; we need to restructure our country, in a way that we can approximate our own resources here and pay tax to the Federal Government. And nobody will be talking about Bayelsa State being insolvent or any other state in the Niger Delta for that matter.

“If Bayelsa state is insolvent, then it means Nigeria is insolvent. From where you get all your resources, and the resources are not ploughed back here. And you say the state is insolvent?”

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