Adoke: Let Onshore / Offshore oil debate rest in peace


Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

Nigeria’s justice minister and attorney-general, Mohammed Bello Adoke on Thursday in Abuja took on some northern state governors over their recent subtle campaigns for the abrogation of the onshore/ offshore dichotomy with the intention to demand for the reduction of 13 per cent derivation to oil-producing states.

Adoke stated emphatically that the matter had been pronounced upon by the Supreme Court and as a result needs no further visitation.

Speaking at a valedictory court session held at the Supreme Court in honour of Justice Francis Fedode Tabai who retired from the apex court’s bench on the 25th of July, after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70 years, Adoke called on politicians not to overheat the polity over an issue that had been resolved at the Supreme Court.

According to the justice minister, “politicians must stop further deliberation and resurrection of the onshore / offshore dichotomy so as not to further over heat the polity which is presently enmeshed in some challenging security issues. Politicians act as if the issue had not been judiciously determined”

Adoke asserted that the decision of the apex court on the controversial issue reaffirmed the constitutional standing of section 162 of the Nigeria Constitution and contended that it behooves on all Nigerians to promote the sanctity of the Supreme Court by upholding that decision.

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Section 162 (2) of the constitution provides that the President, upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density;

Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.

Adoke also commended the retiring Justice Tabai for his 42 years meritorious service in the nation’s judicial system, including the last six years spent at the Supreme Court’s bench.

Justice Tabai was born on the 25th of July, 1942 at Torugbene, in the creeks of the Niger Delta.

In her speech at the event, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, praised the simplicity of judgments delivered by Justice Tabai which, according to her, has a simple way of being diffused into the mind of everyone who comes across it, including lay men.

Justice Tabai was appointed to the apex court’s bench on the 23rd of February, 2006 but he was sworn in on the 17th of March, 2006.

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