The governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, was again absent at the meeting of the South-South Governors’ Forum where the state Chief Executives met to establish a regional security outfit that will tackle issues of degenerating security in the geo-political zone.
Ayade, who has come to be seen as the black sheep among the South-South Governors, was originally elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but later defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt after the meeting, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa stated, “After an extensive deliberation, the Council resolved that bearing in mind that most of the states have established their security organs, we approved the regional security architecture which will be launched soon.”
According to the communique, the governors also resolved; “To equivocally support the decision of states to collect the Value Added Tax by states, we resolved to join the suit at the Supreme Court.
“The Council urged the President and the National Assembly to take necessary measures to revisit some unfair aspects of the recently signed Petroleum Industry Bill now Act, to ensure fairness and equity.”
“We urge that the amendment should include a clear definition of host communities and that the trustees should be appointed by the state government.
“The Council called on the President and the federal government to uphold the law establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by appropriately constituting its board.
“In addition, we express the hope that the federal government will make the forensic audit report public and do justly and fairly with the report with a view to strengthening the capacity of NDDC to meet its obligations to the people of the region.
“Council regretted that the President and the federal government entirely failed to give reasonable consideration to requests made by the region during the dialogue with the special delegation led by Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff to the President. Notable among the requests was the relocation of NNPC subsidiaries and IOCs headquarters to Niger Delta and the completion of a number of projects in the region, notably roads”, Okowa added.