THE need for governors to deal with security concerns in their various states was largely responsible for the postponement of a scheduled zoom meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum meeting .
Governors of the 36 States of the federation were to meet via zoom to discuss the ongoing nationwide strike by Resident Doctors as well as strategies for reducing poverty among Nigerians.
Notices for the meeting had been sent out late on Tuesday but later withdrawn.
In a terse statement, the Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo said, “The pro-poor meeting slated for Wednesday, has been cancelled due to critical national issues beyond NGF which have just come up, we regret to announce that a new date for this meeting will be announced in due course.”
However, a source privy to the development said, “ Some of the governors had domestic security issues to deal with.
“The governors of Sokoto, Katsina and Plateau especially had emergency security meetings scheduled because of happenings in their states all these were considered.”
In another development, governors have started consultations among themselves about how best to address their concerns over the Petroleum Industry Act recently signed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Governors across party and regional lines had agreed to take up the grey areas in the bill with the Presidency and the National Assembly.
This, it was learnt, led to various consultative meetings by the Nigeria Governors Forum with the National Assembly and the Office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who is the head of the National Economic Council before the NGF wrote a letter to the President itemizing areas of conflict.
A governor who pleaded anonymity out of respect for his other colleagues said, “We were working on a political solution to these concerns especially on the issue of ownership structure of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, which affects all of us because the law as it favours the Federal Government.
“We had hoped that the President would take our concerns into consideration before signing the bill into an Act yesterday. We will certainly consult among ourselves and our lawyers to look at the possibility of going to seek judicial redress.”
Recall, the NGF had in a letter to the President dated August 10, raised six concerns namely: The fact that the Act unduly favours the Federal Government, States were excluded from the ownership structure of the NNPC, the 30 percent Frontier Exploration Fund will deplete accruals to the Federation Account and barring transfer of payments into the Federation Account which they noted is unconstitutional.
However, governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress have hailed the signing of the PIA by President Buhari.
This was contained in a statement titled, “Petroleum Industry Act: Democratically Changing Nigeria,” signed by the Chairman of the Forum, Governor Abubakar Bagudu, which was issued in Abuja, on Wednesday.