Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has said 13 per cent derivation being paid to the oil-producing states in the Niger Delta is not enough to develop the region.
He, therefore, described the 13 per cent derivation principle as a mockery of the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the region.
The governor made the assertion during a live media chat in (Izon) Ijaw language at the Government House, Yenagoa, a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Francis Ottah-Agbo, said on Tuesday.
Dickson argued that only restructuring would guarantee sustainable peace, stability and development in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.
He lamented that the people of the region, particularly the Ijaw, were being treated as second-class citizens in the country, as their God-given resources were expropriated by the Federal Government and its agencies.
The governor said, “I have said it time and time again that the 13 per cent derivation they are giving to us can never be enough to tackle our development needs at the pace we want.
“Restructuring is the only veritable means to achieve sustainable peace, stability and prosperity not only in this our region, but throughout the country.
“For how long will the Federal Government and indeed all the supporters of this great injustice continue to treat us as slaves? What they call oil blocks are our ancestral lands but we are the people that are excluded from the ownership and use of this our God-given property.
“Take Bayelsa, for instance, where the Federal Government is doing almost nothing to support our developmental efforts. We are the ones building all our schools, hospitals, roads and bridges to link our communities in this state. Is that fair?
“That is why I expect every right-thinking Ijaw or Niger Delta person and true Nigerians to support our clamour for restructuring because that is the right thing to do so that every part of our country will have a sense of belonging.”
On the ongoing public service reforms in the state, Dickson restated the need for Bayelsa people to discountenance the propaganda and blackmail orchestrated by detractors, stressing that no genuine worker would be adversely affected.
He said through continuous verification and other measures, his administration had pruned down the bloated wage bill of about N6bn it inherited at the inception of his government to N3.8bn at the end of last month.
Dickson, who urged the people not to see civil service as the best occupation, assured them of government’s preparedness to assist them to go into commerce and other private businesses, which he noted, were more lucrative.