The Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has described the recent accusations and outburst against it by Governor of River State Chief Rotimi Amaechi as mere balderdash claiming that the governor had visited the Commission contrary to his claims and that the agency acted on the issues of oil well based on its constitutional mandates.
The Economic Confidential has gathered that the accusations are not being taking lightly by the Commission just as it is discovered that Lagos and Ogun states have oil wells that are yet to be tapped.
Governor Amaechi had blamed the Commission for some of the tensions in the South-South region and urged it to stop encouraging state governors to visit them in their offices. He also blamed the agency for taking 86 oil wells belonging to Rivers State to Akwa Ibom State, 45 to Abia State and some to Bayelsa State, because the Rivers State governor did not visit their office.
The governor wondered how Soku Community in Rivers State, could be said to be in Bayelsa because of the intention to give revenue from the gas plant in the area to another state, stressing that this happened "because the governor does not come to Abuja to negotiate."
Contrary to the claim that he had never visited RMAFC, sources in the Commission informed Economic Confidential that Governor Ameachi visited the Commission shortly after he was declared Governor by the Supreme Court and made other visits months thereafter. Even though the meeting was held behind closed doors, sources familiar with the meeting told Economic Confidential that discussion was centred on fiscal federalism and more particularly, the Derivation Fund. “The truth is that there is no Governor from the oil producing States that have not visited the Commission,” the sources said.
Reacting to the claim that Commission is creating conflict among oil producing States, the source explained that it was an unfortunate and wild claim as the Commission does not originate complaints and legal tussles that has become a common practice among the States in the Niger-Delta. In fact, the sources said the Commission should be credited and commended by the people of Niger-Delta and Nigerians for solving most of the intractable disputes over oil wells.
On the issue of Soku Oil Well, which the Governor alleged to have been given to Bayelsa State, the Economic Confidential gathered that the Commission is not responsible for boundary disputes as well as allocation of oil wells as that are respective responsibilities of National Boundary Commission (NBC) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). The Soku dispute was decided by a Presidential Committee, which involves the NBC, Office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation, DPR, Nigerian Navy and the RMAFC – it was their findings that resulted in crediting the proceeds from Soku to Bayelsa State.
On Cross River State, the Governor alleged that the Commission made the state a non-oil producing State. The sources in the Commission told the Economic Confidential that the issue is legal and technical because the International Court of Justice transferred Bakassi to Cameroun thereby making Cross River State a non-littoral State. Similarly, it is discovered that the Supreme of Court of Nigeria has made some pronouncement and decisions on the subject.
“You know political solution has been partly responsible to the recurring disputes over oil wells because when a new government came that is not party to the political solution it complaints. So, when the complaints were becoming unabated a technical committee was set-up, which included the NBC, DPR, RMAFC, Nigerian Navy, SSS and the State House Counsel.”
After a technical map of the littoral States was drawn jointly by NBC and the Office of Surveyor-General of the Federation, the DPR provided coordinates for each oil well in the country – and as you coordinate are unique signs that have no second anywhere in the world. Therefore, these coordinates were plotted and the results shows that Cross River, which has no access to the Sea have no a single oil well. It was found out that Lagos and Ogun States are indeed, oil producing States even though the oil wells there were not producing – so, where has the Commission gone wrong?