Northern governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Northern Governors Forum Thursday bemoaned what they described as the “inequality” in the allocation of federal revenue. They also said that there must be a review of the federal revenue allocation formula this year to address the inequality in sharing the federally collected revenue. As a first step in their quest, the 19 Northern governors called for a review of the laws on the ownership of oil blocks on the continental shelf.
All oil blocks outside the 200 kilometres of the continental shelf should be shared as a commonwealth, they demanded, rather than allowing a few states to share the proceeds.
Speaking at the inauguration of Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Advisory Council to advise the Northern governors on development, chairman of the forum and Niger State Governor, Dr. Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu, said: “The North today is in a very grave situation where illiteracy, poverty and general backwardness are on the rise in the face of unfavourable federation allocation structure in which the Northern states are at a great disadvantage.”
Lamenting the “unfavourable federation allocation in the Northern states,” he said.
“In Niger State, for instance, we receive N4.2 billion to N4.5 billion annually and spend over N2.1 billion on wages and salaries, leaving behind the balance of N2 billion to be spent on a population of 4.1 million people, including other exigencies of state, like social services, hospital and road construction. “This is unlike the situation where some states collect 20 times more than what we collect with a small population.” He added: “According to the constitution, the federation allocation formula is expected to be reviewed in every five or 10 years and we are expecting that there would be a review of the federation allocation formula within this year, 2012. We are expecting a review.”