Youths in Akwa Ibom, under the auspices of Young Democratic Movement (YDM) and South South Youth Assembly, have given the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to take over the gold deposits in Zamfara State, currently controlled by that state government.
Speaking at the press conference on Tuesday in Uyo, the YDM leader, Kuseme Idiong, and Speaker, South South Youth Assembly, Comrade Victor Thompson, said proceeds of all minerals extracted in any part of the country should be shared among all the states as it is the case with oil derivatives from the Niger Delta region.
The youths said that the gold in Zamfara belongs to the Federal Government and warned that Governor Bello Matawalle has no right to sell the gold bar to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The groups added that the constitution of Nigeria stipulates that mines and minerals, including oil fields, oil mining, geological surveys and natural gas in states are exclusively under the control of the Federal Government, and wondered why the Federal Government has not taken over the gold in Zamfara.
The Niger Delta youths said that failure of the Federal Government to take over the mineral resources found in Zamfara State will force them to embark on a nationwide protest to which they have invited youths from other parts of the country to join.
The groups further demanded an upward review of the derivation funds paid to Niger Delta states, saying oil-producing states are not actually paid the 13 per cent.
“Both the Executive and the Legislative arms of the Federal Government should rise against this act of lawlessness and impunity from those selling gold from Zamfara.
“Details of both past and present gold or other mineral sales should be made public and proceeds should be shared among all the states as in the case of oil derivatives from the Niger Delta region.
“The Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly should revisit the derivative funds formula for the oil-rich Niger Delta states as oil-producing states get below the 13 per cent derivation.”
They warned that failure to upwardly review the derivative funds formula for the oil-rich Niger Delta states, the Federal Government must allow Niger Delta to directly sell its oil just as it is with the case with the Zamfara gold bar.
“We give the Federal Government until Saturday, October 24, 2020, to give a robust and satisfactory response to our demands else the youths of Niger Delta shall on Tuesday, October 26, 2020, embark on a nationwide protest drawing the attention of the international community to this terrible situation.
“We must warn that we will not leave the streets until our demands are met,” the groups stated.