Delta state Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and his Akwa Ibom State

counterpart, Godswill  Akpabio yesterday said that the issue of

onshore/offshore dichotomy has been settled long ago by the National

Assembly and the Judiciary.

The Governors, who made the call during the Zonal Advocacy Workshop on

Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation (South-South Zone)

in Asaba, said it was unfortunate that the issue of on-shore and off-shore

was still on national discourse and enjoined Nigerians to lay it to rest.

??I appeal to Nigerians to leave the issue of on-shore and off-shore alone.

This matter has long ago been settled and it should now be a no go area.

Indeed I beg Nigerians to leave this matter for now??, Uduaghan stated.

On his part, Akpabio said 20 states of the federation took the matter to

the Supreme Court after the national assembly had addressed the matter and

that at the Supreme Court it was settled and laid to rest wondering why it

was an issue now.

Dr Uduaghan called on the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal

Commission to design ways of addressing the problems of oil producing

states stating that the impact of oil exploration was heavy on states in

the South-South zone and as a result deserves better treatment.

He specifically demanded for 50% oil derivation revenue which he explained

will be used to heal the wounds inflicted on the environment of the Niger

Delta region.

Explaining further he said ??Exploration of oil has dealt a fatal blow on

the environment of the South-South region. It has caused environmental

degradation, pollution of soil and river to the extent that fishing and

farming are no longer viable occupations in the region.??

The governor harped on the dwindling revenue allocation and said the time

was now ripe for the diversification of the economy so that in the future,

states could survive beyond oil.

Describing the workshop as timely Dr Uduaghan said his administration has

mapped out strategies to build a state beyond oil explaining that he was

already using oil revenue to develop other sectors of the economy.

Emphasizing further he said ??we are laying the framework to develop more

industries and increase the scope of our micro-credit scheme. Besides, we

are increasing our investments in agriculture so that we can use it to

create more employment opportunities??.

The governor who explained that unemployment was mounting pressure on the

economy of every states in the nation, said his administration was creating

avenues through which youths will be removed from the streets and given

employment.

The governor of Akwa-Ibom state Chief Goodswill Akpabio in his remarks

called on the commission to look critically on oil exploration and

compensate the Niger Delta region.

Chief Akpabio said Nigerians should not only share from the revenue coming

out of the region but should also share in the problems of the region.

He said the production of oil in the Niger Delta states has now become a

curse instead of a blessing especially as the environment of the region has

been devastated.

The governor said the future of the environment of the Niger Delta states

was now becoming bleak and anything can happen such as earthquakes and

tsunamis because of the depth of oil exploration.

The governor of Edo state Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who also spoke during

the occasion advocated for the development of the agricultural sector as an

alternative source of revenue in the Niger Delta zones.

The governor who was represented by his deputy Chief Pius Odubu stated that

the regions should also pay attention to the solid mineral deposits for

nature has already bestowed them on the regions.

The chairman of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission

Engineer Elias Mbam said the aim of the workshop was to map out strategies

on how to diversify the nation?s economy so that the actualization of the

vision 20.2020 will be guaranteed.

Engineer Mbam promised that the commission was committed in the campaign

and expressed the hope that in the long run, the revenue profile of the

nation will increase.

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