Revenue allocation skewed against North

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Muazu Babangida Aliyu

Muazu Babangida Aliyu

Northern governors will engage stakeholders in pressing for a review of the revenue allocation formula to attain some level of equity for the overall development of the country, Niger State Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu has said.

Aliyu, who is chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, said the federal revenue allocation formula was heavily lopsided against northern states such that “some states are not doing well while others are doing extremely well.”

The governor spoke in Abuja at the inauguration of a 12-member Advisory Council of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation.

He said revenues from continental shelf oil which ought to be for the entire country were being treated as coming from littoral states, thereby entitling those states to royalties and derivation.

This is happening against the backdrop of what he called the “grave” situation in the North “where illiteracy, poverty, ignorance and general backwardness are on the rise in the face of unfavourable federation allocation structure in which the northern states are at great disadvantage.”

“We are expecting a review,” he added.

Citing example with Niger State, Aliyu said the state receives an average allocation of N4.2 billion and spends N2.1 billion on salaries and emoluments, leaving government with about N2 billion for servicing a population of over 4 million.

But as this happens, some states collect 20 times more for far lesser populations, he added.

The governor said it was time stakeholders in the North began to change their mind set “from the parasitic and consumptive tendencies” towards what they can do to productively contribute to the economic development of the region.

Unless this is done, he said, the region and its people will forever lag behind.

The Sardauna Memorial Foundation’s advisory council inaugurated yesterday is headed by retired Justice Mamman Nasir.

Members of the council are retired Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Salihu, former inspector-general of police Ibrahim Coomassie, Alhaji Munir Ja’afaru, Alhaji Asheikh Jarma, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, Mr. Benjamin Chaha, former secretary to the federal government Aminu Saleh, Dr. Kole Shettima, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Anthony M. Z. Sani and Prof. Mohammed Kuta Yahaya.

Inaugurating the council, Aliyu said the foundation was aimed at resuscitating the values and commitment of the late Premier Sir Ahmadu Bello in the quest to achieve stability and improve the socio-economic and political development of the North.

But he said challenges of the region could not be tackled effectively by the few people in government alone. He said there was need for the cooperation of all.

He said already the foundation made steady progress since its inception on July 15, 2010, as its total funds as at February 17, 2012 stood at N2.2 billion.

Aliyu said two high-powered committees have been constituted and will make formal presentations at the next meeting of the Northern Governors’ Forum on March 8, 2012.

The first committee is on the revitalisation of agriculture in the North, with governors of Katsina, Plateau, Borno, Adamawa, Kwara and Sokoto states as members. The second is charged with resolving issues regarding the New Nigeria Newspapers and has the governors of Sokoto, Niger, Kaduna and Katsina states as members.

Aliyu said the governors’ forum had obtained assurances from the Presidency that the sum of over N2 billion will soon be released for the payment of pensions and gratuities to retirees of the New Nigerian.

In his response, Justice Nasir said the council would do its best in line with the spirit of the late premier to work towards peace and development of the North and Nigeria.

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