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Why Conference delegates won’t sign final report – Investigatation

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Delegates at the National Conference are planning not to sign the final report of the conference unless they are given copies to read before they would append their signatures on it.

Delegates at the National ConferenceInvestigations by our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday showed that the delegates felt that they needed to see the details of the reports.

Already, some of the delegates were said to have agreed that this condition must be met before they would append their signature to the conference’s final report.

It was leant that the promoters of this demand might have been influenced by some delegates who were not happy with some of the decisions arrived at during the debates on the reports of the 20 committees of the conference.

Some of the delegates were afraid that some contentious issues that were not agreed on or not favourable to them, could be inserted in the final report.

One of such decisions was the issue of derivation, which spilt the delegates during the plenary, as those from the northern part of the country said they would not support its increment from 13 to 18 per cent.

The northern delegates were asking that five per cent from the Federation Account be also set aside as National Intervention Fund for the reconstruction of the northern part of the country, which they said had been destroyed by the activities of terrorists.

While the northern delegates insisted that the fund must be enjoyed by the three zones in the region, which are North-East, North-West and North-Central, the southern delegates were of the opinion that the fund must be made available to all the zones in the country.

They also said the administration of the fund must start with the North-East, a proposal that was not favourably disposed to by the southern delegates.

This division made the Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, to announce on the day the plenary closed, that the issue of derivation and the intervention fund would be left for the Federal Government to determine.

“Conference therefore recommends that government should set up a technical committee to determine appropriate percentage for the three issues and advised government accordingly,” Kutigi had said.

It was issues like this that made the northern delegates to say that they would insist that the complete report must be made available for them before they would agree to sign it.

The spokesperson for the delegates, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, who spoke with our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday, said there was no way the delegates would be forced to sign.

He said, “Up till now, they have not told us how the report would be. They just asked us to report, like school children, on August 4. The leadership is so disorganised and may not know what to do.

“There are issues we did not agree on apart from the issue of derivation, and I’m saying that nobody can force us to sign what we have not read or go through or issues we even disagreed on substantially.

“Neither Kutigi nor Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi can force us to do that. We are waiting for them to bring their joker.”

A delegate from the South-South region, Mr. Paul Enebeli, also said that the delegates were yet to be briefed on the way the report would be presented.

But he said the delegates might demand for the records of proceedings at the plenary to enable them to study issues that were discusse and were agreed on or rejected.

“We need sufficient time to go through the reports. But we have requested for verbatim reports of the proceedings during the plenary,” he added.

Another delegate, who is a former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said it would be wrong for the northern delegates to insist on the five cent intervention fund.

He said the money for the reconstruction of the zone was the one the Federal Government had asked the Gen. Theophilus Danjuma committee on Victims Support Fund to raise.

He also added that the intervention fund been demanded by the delegates from the North could also make their counterparts from other parts of the country to make similar demand.

Arogundade said, “What do they want to do with that again? The N30bn that the Danjuma Committee has been charged to raise is enough. We should not encourage all these kinds of issues to be coming up. Why did you think our brothers from the eastern part of the country are also asking for money to be paid for the victims of civil war?”

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