Governor Umaru Bago of Niger State has issued a warning to the Federal Government.
He threatened to shut down the Kainji Dam and other power infrastructure supplied to the Delta region if the federal government does not extend the payment of 13 per cent derivation fund enjoyed by oil-producing states to Niger.
“We will take the federal government to the Supreme Court unless the 13 per cent derivation from our land, water, air, grass, and everything given to us is paid. We need 13 per cent derivation for water supplied to the Delta. Our people are ravaged and displaced year in, year out because of the flow of water from the Niger to the Delta,” stated the Niger governor Monday while receiving the federal commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, Tijani Aliyu, in Minna.
Apart from Kainji, the hydroelectric power assets in Zungeru and Shiroro, both in Niiger State, have also served the entire country for decades. The dams also help control floods that could ravage the Niger Delta region, especially during the annual rainy season.
Mr Bago also said the federal government “will pay Niger state N1 trillion in the next three months for hydrocarbon exchange, they must. We have provided this country with hydropower for a long time; nobody is compensating us for it.”
The governor, who said the state had been neglected and marginalised for too long, also demanded compensation from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“Abuja Electricity Distribution Company must pay us, they have consumed from Niger state hydrocarbon exchange, and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation must pay us,” the northern governor. “We have woken up, we can never ever tolerate being neglected or abandoned again. The only way we can ensure that the federal government needs us is to shut down the hydro dams unless we are paid.”
However, Mr Bago stressed that his administration would collect “every dime” Niger deserves.
“We are serious about this. It is not a threat; it is a statement. Every dime that is due to us, we will take it. We will take every kobo that is for Niger state,” the governor explained. “We are not going to be marginalised again; our waters, our lands, our borders are strengths for us and not weaknesses.”
Mr Bago added, “We demand compensation for our people. Everything, every resource that comes from Niger state, must be compensated. We will not tolerate this anymore. We must be compensated. Our people have done enough for Nigeria.”