Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
A coalition of Militant groups from states in the Niger Delta has urged the Federal Government to pay 13 percent derivation to oil-producing communities instead of the state governors.
The coalition, under the aegis of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, averred that the direct payment to oil-producing communities would lead to the effective development of the region.
It described as ‘provocative and deceitful” the outbursts of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa over the comment of alleged misuse of 13 percent derivation by governors of the region and the move to release the funds to oil communities.
The RNDA described the defence of Okowa as provocative and an attempt by the Niger Delta governors to continue the alleged diversion of 13 percent derivation meant to develop oil producing communities and the region.
The coalition, in a statement by its leader, Johnmark Ezonebi, condemned in totality the statement credited to Okowa.
The group opposed the stand of the Presidency over the 13 percent derivation funds, claiming that the oil and gas producing communities could not control the derivation funds and that it is the governors that could manage the funds on behalf of the oil-producing communities.
The RNDA said: “This is a great insult and deceitful position of the governors known to have embezzled the funds meant for the development of the region. Okowa and his colleagues should come out to tell us what they have done with the 13 percent derivation funds and many other funds accrued to the region.”
It said that Okowa’s position was also an insult to the agitating militant groups in the creek and the oil-producing communities and traditional rulers from the region.
It strongly believed that the Niger Delta governors could not continue to enslave and mortgage the future of youths and that of the unborn children in the creeks.
The group said: “The Niger Delta governors should not provoke the wrath of the gods upon their lives if they refuse to steer clear of the 13 percent derivation funds that they have been illegally hijacked and mismanaged for all these years.
“These governors should not provoke the RNDA, with nine other militant groups in the creeks, to declare war against them and tag them as enemies to the underdevelopment of the oil-rich region.
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“In our years of agitation, we have observed the damages and the devastating effects caused by these greedy self-centered state governors from the region. The oil and gas producing communities in the region are saying enough is enough. Therefore, the governors from the region, have been warned to steer clear if the 13 percent derivation funds or else they will face severe consequences which may lead to the destruction of all oil facilities in the creeks.”
The RNDA, however, absolved President Muhammadu Buhari of the new agitation by militant groups and oil-bearing communities against the continued diversion of the funds accruing through the 13 percent derivation fund.
It said: ” We believe that President Muhammad Buhari is not the cause of the under-development that is affecting the region rather it is the bad corrupt leadership of the 16 wasted years of previous administrations with the Niger Delta governors that led to the massive under-development of the region.
“Today, therefore, Mr. President should do the needful and he has the power enshrined in the Constitution and he should give a presidential directive not to pay the 13 percent derivation funds to the governors of the region anymore because the derivation funds are on the exclusive legislative list.
“The President has the prerogative and jurisdiction on all matters in the exclusive legislative list, including oil and gas in the Act which no state governor or state assembly can legislate on. “