The Rivers State National Assembly Caucus has declared that loans being requested by President Muhammadu Buhari are unconstitutional and discriminatory in approach and scope.
Recall that the Federal Government had written to the National Assembly on resumption from its annual recess last week demanding for fresh loans of $4billion and €710million.
The Rivers caucus expressed dismay with the incessant loans and the manner projects are indiscriminately distributed among states in the country.
In a statement issued and signed by their caucus leaders, Senator George Sekibo and Rep Kingsley Chinda stated that, “There’s no equity and fairness in the manner the projects are being distributed which flagrantly violates the provision of the Constitution.
“The manner and approach so far adopted by the Buhari led Government obviously violates Sections 16(1) and 16(2) which states interlia that:
“The State shall…… harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient , dynamic and self reliant economy and control the national economy in such manner as to secure the MAXIMUM WELFARE, FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS OF EVERY CITIZEN on the basis of social justice and equality…..”
“The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring (a) the promotion of a planned and balanced economic development (b) that the MATERIAL RESOURCES OF THE NATION are harnessed and DISTRIBUTED AS BEST AS POSSIBLE TO SERVE THE COMMON GOOD.
“From all indications, the Buhari government has deliberately deleted Rivers State from Nigeria as all the loans being requested no single project was attached to Rivers and you do not want the state to collect its hard earned VAT guaranteed by the Constitution.
“You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in item 58 and 59 of the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“Everybody knows that it is not even in the Concurrent list. Therefore, it falls under the Residual list. It is not arguable.
“That yesterday nothing happened does not mean that today nothing will happen, or tomorrow something will not happen.
“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop their states.
“We are in a Federal system where we are practicing unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the State to think, how do I develop my State.”
“It’s appalling and disappointing that the Buhari-led government could be this petty in the distribution of projects without capturing a federating unit for no just reason.
“The Rivers caucus in NASS will not sit on the fence and watch this discriminatory and unconstitutional system of administration of what duly belongs to all Nigerians to a select few.”