The Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination has urged the governors in southern Nigeria to unanimously reject the recently assented Petroleum Industry Act by President Muhammadu Buhari or face “never-seen-before mass action.”
The group, in a statement on Friday by its Chairman, Prof Banji Akintoye, described the PIA as “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 also urged the southern governors to reject the move by the President to review 368 grazing sites in 25 states across the country, saying the Federal Government did not own any land upon which it could establish grazing routes.
The self-determination group made this known in a statement titled, ‘Governors in the Southern Region that welcome FG’s Grazing Reserves Should Prepare For a Never-Seen-Before Mass Action.’
In the statement made available to journalists by Akintoye’s Communications Manager, Maxwell Adeleye, NINAS said it would apply the “instrumentalities of the law and intellectualism to repel the act.”
The statement read, “For the sake of clarity, the much-publicised PIA allocated three per cent of total oil revenue to oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region of Delta, Imo, Abia, Edo, Ondo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa with massive environmental degradation and health hazard while 30 per cent of the total oil revenue was 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 per cent 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 and generate almost zero Value Added Tax to the federation account would now be more financially buoyant than oil producing states through the fraudulent PIA.
“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 also urge governors within the NINAS territory to respect the wishes of their people on the issue of the grazing reserves 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 are vested in state governors who hold the 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 a piece of 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.”