Nigerian governors decide to go to court on oil money

Published April 3rd, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Nigeria's state governors on Monday took a historic decision to go to court in a bid to enforce their constitutional right to share state revenues from oil and other sources, their spokesman said. 

 

This is the first time that all 36 state governors have expressed a joint position on this issue, observers noted. The date for filing of the suit has not yet been disclosed. 

 

The governors -- who belong to three political parties -- seek the enforcement of a law which stipulates the creation of a special account, known as the "federation account", into which all revenues collected by the federal government are to be paid, said governor Abdullahi Adamu of Nassarawa State. 

 

The governors also want the court to uphold the status of the electoral agency as provided for by law, he said. 

 

"No level of government has any rights to unilaterally alter the provisions of the constitution," Adamu said. 

He was reacting to calls by some government officials for the abolition of the agency's branches in the states. 

 

Last Tuesday, governors from 17 oil-rich states in southern Nigeria discussed plans to assume greater control of the country's oil wealth and resources at the expense of other states. 

 

The meeting, which took place in the southern city of Benin, was the third in a series of southern governors' meetings which began last year in Lagos and continued this year in southeastern Enugu city. 

 

Calls by the oil- and gas-rich southern states for greater control over the income from Nigeria's natural resources have fanned tensions in the west African country. 

 

These demands were strongly opposed by the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo and, before now, by the poorer 19 northern states which depend on oil revenues.  

 

The government in February announced it had asked the Supreme Court to rule on constitutional provisions covering the sharing out of what it says is national revenue. The Supreme Court hearing is due to take place on April 9 in Abuja.—AFP. 

©--Agence France Presse 2001. 

 

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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