Again, Resource Control divides National Conference Committee

When it was obvious the committee would not be able to resolve the matter, Mr. Coomassie ruled that debate on it be suspended till the next sitting.

The National Conference Committee on Devolution of Power has again failed to reach an agreement on resource control after a heated debate which lasted for more than an hour.

The debate largely say members of the committee split along north and south; with those from Northern Nigeria wanting the statusquo to remain and their counterparts from the South, wanting a change.

During the debate, Jack Tilley Gyado from Benue insisted that the issue should continue to be on the exclusive list but added that a mechanism be created to accommodate states.

While trying to calm delegates who were engaged in fierce disagreement over the issue, Mr. Tilley Gyado said, “We should return to the President’s speech in which he urged delegates to consider the unity of the country as paramount.”

A Southern delegate, Ankio Briggs, argued that mineral resources should be listed under the concurrent list to enable states to be involved in the extraction and management of the resources in their domains.

Ibrahim Mantu said the attitude of delegates did not reflect the high esteem Nigerians have for the Conference and urged them to show more patriotism and nationalism in dealing issues brought to their attention.

Jeremiah Useni called for the sitting to be adjourned to enable members meet, interact and agree on the position that would ultimately be presented when the committee reconvened.

Alternatively, he suggested that votes to be taken on the two motions before the committee.

When it was obvious the committee would not be able to resolve the matter, Mr. Coomassie ruled that debate on it be suspended till the next sitting.

Resource Control was expected to be a major issue for discussion at the conference. Many delegates, largely from the South, have insisted states producing resources such as oil get at least 50 per cent of the resource produced; a move largely opposed by Northern delegates.

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