‘Northerners have all the oil blocks’ – says Edwin Clark
Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark has accused the Federal government of neglecting the oil producing South-South region of the country.
In an interview with BBC pidgin, Clark described the provision and allocation of 30 percent of profits in the bill for further frontier oil exploration in the north as “satanic and unjust”.
He also expressed his support for southern governors who had kicked against the allocation of 3 percent operating expenditure of oil firms to host communities, and rejected the proposed 30 percent of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.
“I support their decision. Even when they wanted five percent, I disagreed with them. We want 10 percent. We want to be part of the oil industry. The northerners have all the oil blocks; they don’t produce any oil,” he said.
“For instance, in 2005, when we had the same problem at the political conference held in Abuja, this same issue came up. We produced a paper at that conference and one of it was to show who are the people benefitting from the oil without contributing a kobo to the economy by the form of oil producer.
“We discovered that north-central takes about N48 billion yearly without contributing anything to the federation account apart from what is produced. We are talking about oil and gas. North-west took about N49 billion; north-east, N45 billion; south-west took about N49 billion. They contribute like less than four percent in Ondo. Then the south-east, between Igbo and Abia, contributed like 2.5 percent at that time and got about N25 billion naira.
“Where are the south-south? We got N140 billion and how much did we contribute? More than 91.5 percent to the coffers, yet, today we are the poorest. Have you ever seen where wealth is produced in your backyard and you are the poorest?
“We are the most neglected. Those who benefit from the oil come from other areas. The oil passes through my backyard, but if I want to benefit from it, I go to meet President Muhammadu Buhari ‘can I benefit from this oil?’ He will say ‘yes, provided you are an APC member’.”