Nigeria only collect rent on its oil resources but can’t control it – Akinjide
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
Second Republic Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN) has said Nigeria’s economy is presently in the hands of foreigners making it difficult for its leaders to control the oil resources.
The former Minister of Justice stated this at a lecture ‘Nigeria beyond oil’ organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council as part of activities for its 2015 Press week.
He declared that for now, Nigeria is not controlling its oil resources but only collecting rent on it despite the abundance of oil resources in Nigeria, saying, “Nigeria knows little or nothing about oil and gas.
“By now, all our universities should have departments in oil and gas. If you have oil and gas and you do not control it, your economy is not in your hand. Nigeria economy is in the hands of foreigners. The price of oil and gas now dictates the state of our economy. There is oil and gas in Lake Chad. They now produce what they need and they do not rely on us. They supply oil and gas to the foreign countries and I will not be surprised if our own part of Lake Chad can produce plenty of oil and gas,” he said.
The former Minister emphasized that “as regards oil and gas, Nigeria is in a hole and we continue digging,” adding, “Angola is making better use of their oil and gas than Nigeria but I hope they will not make the mistakes of Nigeria”.
According to Chief Akinjide, Nigeria’s oil and gas does not belong to Nigerians because the country collects rents on it, saying, “we haven’t got oil. What we collect from our oil is rent because we lease out our oil and collect rent on it. The actual owners are the people that pay us the rent.”
The legal luminary declared that the time has come for Nigeria to go back to agriculture and stop too much dependence on oil which is having its price falling in the recent time. He said “our critical product before was agriculture. We must go back to that in a big way.
“We can once again make our economy thrive by investing more in agriculture. In the 60’s, agriculture largely dominated the Nigerian economy as oil was progressively becoming an important source of government revenue. The Nigerian economy blossomed with Agriculture. Let’s make agricultural sector competitive.
“We should also go back to mining our solid minerals in Nigeria. Solid minerals have been abandoned since the oil boom. Nigeria is blessed with numerous solid minerals like coal, lime stone, gold and silver, etc, the government and private sector should invest in solid minerals and not just petroleum oil alone,” he said