The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta) said section 44 (3) of 1999 Constitution must be expunged for the country to be restructured. Ogor, in an interview on Friday in Abuja, said that removal the section from the Constitution would ensure that challenges Nigeria was currently grappling with were addressed.
He explained that the section erroneously placed the control of all resources in the hands of the Federal Government, adding that the position adversely affected economic diversification and exploration of numerous mineral resources in the country. “I draw you to the provision of section 44 (3) of the Constitution where the resources of the whole country was placed in the hands of the Federal Government, and that is an abnormality.
“The only reason why it was so is because of the sole dependence on oil, but that has been the major setback we have today as a nation,’’ he said. Ogor said that the situation had negatively affected the exploration and exploitation of numerous mineral resources as well as encouraged illegal mining in different parts of the country. “Some foreigners have decided to do their own business taking away billions of naira that can come into the hands of state governments.
“Name one state that God has not bestowed with some mineral resources. “Unfortunately, because of the selfish nature of those who probably thought that oil was it all, they decided to place all mineral resources in the hands of the Federal Government.
“They created a scenario under section 162 of the Constitution where we come at the end of the month to share money from the Federation Account,’’ Ogor said. He expressed worry that the section created a distributable pool account that distributed money on monthly basis to the tiers of government. “People come in every month, just share whatever they can share then go back home and sit down, because they know that at the end of another month they come again to Abuja and share money.
“Today, there is a drop in price of crude oil, and so they can’t pay salaries, and the gold is sitting there idle; other people are stealing it. “But, if not for that section in the Constitution, by today you would have imagined the level of specialization that would have happened.
“Nigeria would have been competing with countries like Malaysia, Singapore and host of other countries.
“Those that are not ready to work will be forced to work because they will be forced to look inward, he said.
“Remember the great groundnut pyramid, remember the cocoa era, the palm oil era; everything has gone all because we mistakenly placed all the resources in the hands of the Federal Government.
“This is something that is quite alien in a federalism,’’ Ogor stated.