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Sanusi Links Boko Haram to Derivation

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Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

By Yemi Adebowale, with agency reports, and Ahamefula Ogbu

Attempts to redress historic grievances in Nigeria’s oil-rich south may inadvertently have helped create the conditions for the Islamic  insurgency spreading from the impoverished north-east of the country, so says Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
A revenue sharing formula that gave 13 percent derivation to the  oil-producing states was introduced after the military relinquished  power in 1999 among a series of measures aimed at redressing historic  grievances among those living closest to the oil and quelling a conflict that was jeopardising output.
But Sanusi who spoke in an interview with the Financial Times Friday  said: “There is clearly a direct link between the very uneven nature of  distribution of resources and the rising level of violence.”
He said that it was now necessary to focus funds on regenerating other regions if Nigeria wants to secure long-term stability.
“When you look at the figures and look at the size of the population in the north, you can see that there is a structural imbalance of enormous proportions. Those states simply do not have enough money to meet basic needs while some states have too much money.
“The imbalance is so stark because the state still depends on oil for more than 80 per cent of its revenues,” said Sanusi.
The FT, in a further analysis of the issue yesterday, wrote: “Nigeria  has made little headway raising taxes for example from agriculture,  which accounts for 42 per cent of GDP. Northern Nigeria’s economy has  traditionally depended on the government more than the south. Many of  the industries set up as part of earlier efforts to promote national  balance have gone bust or been sold off during a decade of liberal  market reforms, power shortages and infrastructure collapse.
“According to official figures, the leading oil producing state,  Rivers, received N1,053 billion between 1999 and 2008 in federal  allocations. By contrast the North-eastern states of Yobe and Borno,  where the Boko Haram sect was created, received N175bn and N213bn  respectively. Broken down on a per capita basis, the contrast is even  starker. In 2008 the 18.97m people who lived in the six states in the  north-east received on average N1,156 per person.
“By contrast Rivers state was allocated N3,965 per capita, and on  average the oil producing South- South region received on average N3,332 per capita. This imbalance is compounded when the cost of an amnesty  programme for militants in the delta is included together with an  additional 1 per cent for a special development body for the Niger  Delta. To boot, the theft of oil by profiteers in the region diverts  tens of millions more weekly from federal coffers.”
In the past year, the extremist Boko Haram sect has been responsible  for proliferating attacks on churches, police stations and other state  targets. Just last week, it claimed responsibility for multiple bomb  blasts that claimed nearly 200 lives in Kano. The size and  sophistication of the attacks underlined fears that the conflict is  spiralling out of control.
Meanwhile, Vice President, Namadi Sambo has rallied the 19 Northern  state governors together in a bid to check the spate of bombings in the  North by the violent Islamic sect Boko Haram and arrive at a collective  action against the menace.
Sambo told State House Correspondents that there was no religious  problem in the country but terrorist attacks for which all Nigerians  must cooperate with security agencies to see to the end of Boko Haram.  The vice-president said he has secured the pledge of the governors to  cooperate with the federal government to weed out the group.
Sambo’s meeting with the governors held at his Akinola Aguda House  residence began around 8.30pm on Thursday and lasted till 2.10 am  Friday.
The vice-president confirmed to journalists that he met with the governors on how combat the Boko Haram menace.
He said: “It is a meeting with the 19 governors of the Northern states  of the federation and the ministers of Police and Defence and the  representative of the National Security Adviser. We have discussed the  need for cooperation in the security of this country and particularly,  the Northern states. And in this meeting, it is very clear that there is no religious problem, religious fighting in northern Nigeria.
“There is a threat of terrorists and the need to address this terrorism act. Nigeria is one country and we will do everything to ensure that we have peace in the North and in the country in general. All the state  governments as usual will further cooperate with the federal government  in ensuring that the safety of lives and properties is maintained in all parts of the country.”

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