The former governor of Yobe State, Senator Buka Abbah Ibrahim, has declared that the North would support the passage of the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) if provision is made in the bill for funds to develop other mineral resources across the country.
He said the North is strongly against the 10 per cent revenue proposed in the Bill for oil producing communities because the region already has about six sources of income.
Senator Ibrahim who spoke with newsmen at the National Assembly in Abuja however hit back at the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN President, Bishop Ayo Oritsejafor over his comment that the federal government should not dialogue with Boko Haram describing it as more irresponsible than the call for dialogue.
Bishop Oritsejafor had during the 46th annual convention of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria in Kaduna kicked against any form of dialogue between the Federal Government and the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The Senator said he was not surprised at the clergy’s comment because he does not feel the intensity of the damage to lives and property of innocent Nigerians.
He expressed shock that the CAN President “wants us to continue killing ourselves rather than dialoguing and getting peace”.
His words: “He (Oritsejafor) probably was not directly affected, I was directly affected, quite a number of my family members have been killed, my cars have been burnt, and my wife’s school at Damaturu has been burnt.
“I have been a direct victim of Boko Haram. He is not; he is just flying in his newly acquired jet where nobody can get near him so whatever he says is not surprising. To me, dialogue is not the only solution, but it remains the best solution.
The two- term governor of Yobe state said there are many other burning issues in Nigeria such as issues of marginalization and neglect of the North-East geo-political zone.
He said, “I will give you facts and figures and the reason for my belief. I believe in those things that are why I keep on talking about them, the North-East zone is the most neglected zone in the entire six geo-political zones in the country.
“I hope all Nigerians will help us solve our problem as poverty in the North East is unbelievable.
He insisted that dialogue remains the best solution saying Oritsejafor’s statement is more irresponsible than his own comment. “I am only part of people who are looking for solution; I owe nobody any apology”.
“Studies after studies have shown that the North East is the poorest part of Nigeria, not because of lack of natural resources but because of neglect over decades.
“You can’t blame Jonathan or Yar’Adua or any particular leader for what happened. But what happened had happened and there is need to solve these problems and the circle that goes on and on.
“I just hope in 2013 we are going to sort out this Desertification Commission issue; we are going to sort out this Social Housing Bill for Nigerians who have no income, low income and medium income to get houses all over the country through Federal resources and the third one is the Petroleum Industry Bill.
“In whatever form it is going to be passed, I hope it will be passed so that there will be reform in the petroleum industry, the most corrupt industry in Nigeria and probably the most corrupt institution in the whole world as of today.
“We must put a stop to this corruption. We can’t go on just talking about them. We have to go a step forward to try to solve the problems.