Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomenewsThere won't be militancy in creeks if 13% Derivation is properly spent,...

There won’t be militancy in creeks if 13% Derivation is properly spent, Clark

Elder statesman and president of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has bemoaned the extent of poverty in the Niger Delta region and emphasized that if the region’s 13 percent derivation had been properly managed, militancy in the area would have been reduced.

On Wednesday, Clark criticized former Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for failing to account for the 13 percent derivation he received while serving as governor and complained that Niger Delta governors are now wealthier than the Niger Delta states.

According to him, “The 13 percent derivation was something that was raised at the Constituent Assembly, chaired by the former Justice of the Supreme Court. People like Late General Shehu Yar Adua and others felt that there was need to compensate the people that produce the oil and we were around lobbying and the 13 percent was granted under section 1622 of the constitution which provided for at least 13 percent of the federation account to be given to the oil producing communities for their development.

“If that money was properly spent our boys won’t be agitating. There will be no more militancy in the creeks. We have been facing the federal government and not the governors who have been stealing the money. At the 2014 National confab we asked for an increase to 25 percent, and to 50 percent after five years. They told us that they would give us 18 percent but that we should go home and see what our governors were doing with the 13 percent.

“That is why we decided to ask the governors what they are doing with the money. I remember that in 2015 New Niger Avengers gave a warning to the federal government that they would attack oil pipelines if the derivation money is not used in developing their area. I intervened and appealed to them that I would talk to the governors.

“Recently the former Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike revealed in one of his press conferences that a certain amount of money was paid to them by President Buhari under the 13 percent derivation and that Delta State got over N250 billion.

“That annoyed Okowa and he criticised Wike for interfering in their matter. So, I wrote a letter to Okowa to account for the money that he has been collecting. He answered and said that they spent N5 billion in paying pensioners in Delta State. How does that come under 13 percent? Are they oil producing pensioners? He is spending the money on building a university in his own village.

“I engaged a lawyer who went to obtain a certified true copy of all the amount that they paid since 2007. I got a letter from the Accountant General’s office. He stated all what every oil producing state was paid. The one paid to Delta State amounted to N1 trillion, while about N766 billion was received under Okowa.

“We cannot be criticizing the federal government every time for taking our money when those at home who receive the money refuse to account for the receipts. Their monthly allocations are higher than every other state, in addition to the 13 percent derivation,” Clark said.

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