Former presidential aide explains why crude oil belongs to North

A former presidential aide, Dr. Usman Bugaje, has said that natural resources produced in any part of Nigeria belongs to the entire country.

Against the popularly held notion that natural resources should be controlled by the state or region in which they’re produced, Bugaje argues that “there are no oil-producing states but the Nigerian state”, and that the “over 70 percent landmass of the North is what earned Nigeria the nautical miles into the sea which Nigeria enjoys and which gives the country the off-shore drilling rights”.

“It is not a controversial statement. Go back to our constitution, which is the grund norm. Look at what it says about the ownership of natural resources. According to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the ownership of natural resources is vested in the Nigerian state itself. The idea that there is an oil producing state is at variance with our constitution,” Bugaje told Punch.

“It is an idea manufactured by an ignorant mind, a mind that does not even know the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nobody can own the oil, gold, or whatever natural resources that God has given this country, except the Nigerian state designs another process of ownership.”

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On the ownership and control of gold deposits by the Zamfara State Government, Bugaje said: “If that’s been done in Zamfara, then it is against the constitution. How many things have they done against the constitution? I don’t support what they do there or anywhere.

“I go by what the constitution says, and if you don’t like it, you can change the constitution. You can’t have a constitution yet do things in the wrong way. So many wrong things are being done, not only in Zamfara but other states, things that are at variance and an affront to our constitution.

“My point is that there is no oil producing state. The only oil producing state is the Nigerian state itself. The idea that there is an oil, gold, or copper producing state is out of either ignorance or impunity. The real provision is that ownership of everything under the ground within the Nigerian territory is vested in the Federal Republic, and there are rules and regulations,” he added.

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