Like the people’s voice that it truly represents, the apex leadership of the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) has raised an alarm that the recently adopted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) signed into law by President Muhammad Buhari is a gargantuan move by some vested interest in the core north to permanently hijack the assets of the indigenous people of the Southern territory of Nigeria.
NINAS said a critical analysis of the Act has shown that non-oil producing states with no environmental degradation like Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa and Katsina are to benefit more from the PIA than oil producing states of Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Delta, Abia, Imo, and Rivers.
Describing the act as the biggest fraud of the 21st century against the people of Southern Nigeria whose assets and sovereignty are already manipulated by some tiny-ruling elites, NINAS, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Professor Banji Akintoye and made available to newsmen by his Communications Manager, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, said the organization shall apply the instrumentalities of the law and intellectualism to repel the act.
NINAS is the coordinating platform for the umbrella bodies of self-determination groups in the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria with Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) representing the South West, Lower Niger Congress (LNC) representing the South South and South East and Middle Belt Renaissance Movement (MBRM) representing the Middle Belt Region.
Prof Akintoye, a renowned Historian and leader of IOO is the Chairman of NINAS, while Tony Nnadi, Esq, the Leader of LNC is its Secretary-General.
NINAS told Governors within the alliance territory to expect a never-before-seen mass revolt of the people should any of them cede an inch of their ancestral land to the central government for Fulani herdsmen grazing reserves.
“For the sake of clarity, the much-publicized PIA allocated three per cent of total oil revenue to oil producing communities in the Niger Delta Regions of Delta, Imo, Abia, Edo, Ondo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa with massive environmental degradation and health hazard while 30% of the total oil revenue were allocated to the Northern States under the guise of funding oil exploration in frontier basins such as Sokoto, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Bauchi, etc.
“The economic implication of this act is that 30% of the profit accrued from oil revenue explored from the South will be given to the Northern States for oil search that may never be found till eternity.
“With these funds, we can now say without any fear or favour that some states mentioned above that contribute little or nothing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generate almost zero Value Added Tax (VAT) to the federation account would now be more financially buoyant than oil producing states through the fraudulent PIA.
“When taken in conjunction with the Federation Account sharing system in the fraudulent and murderous 1999 Constitution that shares oil revenues based on Local Government Areas (LGA) that has been manipulated to give higher numbers of local government areas to the far north.
“For instance, Kano and Lagos both started out with 20 LGA but now Kano and Jigawa have 71 LGA’s; we have a land size that completely favors the far north, and population that is easily manipulated, the APARTHEID of the South to Middle Belt has been tightened to drive more than the current 100 Million Nigerians into more abject poverty.
“Thus, we enjoin the Southern Governors’ Forum and other leaders within the alliance territory to reject this gross attempt to use the wealth of the south to feed the north.
“We assure our people that we shall fight to recover our assets back within the ambits of both the local and international laws as clearly stated in the Constitutional Force Majeure proclaimed on December 16, 2020 with a call to a UN supervised Referendum by the ethnic blocs.
“We also urge Governors within the NINAS territory to respect the wishes of their people on the issue of the grazing reserve being planned by the central government for Fulani Herdsmen.
“For the avoidance of doubt, under the Land Use Act of 1978, all lands in Nigeria vest in State Governors who hold same in Trust for the People. With the possible exception of the Federal Capital Territory, the Federal Government of Nigeria does not own any land upon which it can establish grazing routes.
“It follows that any Governor in the Alliance Territories who cedes any land to the Federal Government in the name of Grazing Route will be doing so in breach of the Trust in which such lands are held and worse still, in defiance of the overwhelming Will of the People.
“We say with all sense of modesty and responsibility that the grazing route is an attempt towards grabbing our ancestral land through the back door which must be rejected by all means necessary.
“This is not a threat, but an advice – any Governor who cedes our land to the central government for Fulani Herdsmen’s grazing reserve should be ready to face the wrath of the people.
“Such a Governor should be ready to answer to their people on why the rights of the people are being trampled upon and their land allowed to be invaded by a group that has demonstrated that all they are there to do is kill and take over their ancestral lands.
“Such a governor should know that while the NINAS movement for self-determination is peaceful, this continued pandering to killers, most of whom are being brought in from outside of Nigeria, ceding an inch of their ancestral lands will result in such mass peaceful action that may rumble his state to the foundation”, the statement, said.