By Tunde Opalana
Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has accused the Federal Government of double standards in controlling natural resources across the country, Daily Times gathered.
The Delta senator expressed disappointment over why the Federal Government should allowed the Zamfara State government to be mining the gold deposits in the state and subsequently collecting and using the proceeds from the mineral resources.
Omo-Agege doubted government’s sincerity on the resource control policy while contributing to debates on the principles of the N13.08 trillion 2021 budget in the Senate on Wednesday.
Though he didn’t quote the relevant portion of the constitution while making the accusation, but his submission tallies with provisions of item 39 under legislative exclusive list of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The provisions which deal with mines and minerals state: “Mines and Minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas, are exclusively under the control of the Federal Government.”
Grounding his submission in the provisions of the 1999 Constitutional, Omo-Agege said: “There is something that is troubling our people which I think I should also bring up here.
“It is clear that the only two sources identified in the budget for the funding of the budget is the revenue from oil on the most part and borrowings both local and foreign.
“But we also have other sources or potential sources of revenue that is not being looked at. We often talk of leakages (in the system) but why even go into leakages when we can go directly to the solid mineral sector?
“Mr. President, not too long ago, we saw the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle , come before the CBN to present a gold bar worth close to about N5billion.
“The gold bar was presented for sale to the CBN. Mr. President, our people are beginning to wonder who owns this gold that is being sold to the CBN.
“They don’t sell oil in any of the Niger Delta states. I am wondering why a Governor of a state should be selling gold bar from Zamfara to the CBN.
“There are two problems with that. We believe that whatever revenue that ought to come from that transaction belongs to the entire country and not the state government.
“That is number one and we should actually look into that. That is an area we really need to develop. There is a lot of revenue that could come from there that will take the burden from these international borrowings”