Saturday, November 28, 2020 12:03 pm
…say they should account for N50trn derivation fund received since 1999
Okafor Ifiebor/Port Harcourt
A coalition of nine militant groups, under the auspices of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, has asked the Federal Government to throw away the seven -point demands made by South South Leaders and governors during a recent meeting with a team from the Presidency, led by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari in Port Harcourt.
According to the militants, the governors should not be listened to until they start releasing 13 per cent derivation fund directly to the oil-producing communities.
They also asked the governors to account for about N50 trillion derivation fund they have so far received from the federal government.
However, Commanding Officer of RNDA, self-professed “Major General” Johnmark Ezonebi, aka Obama, in an electronic statement said the seven-point demand by six Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and governors of the South-South at this time has ‘political undertone.’
RNDA also accused the governors of under-developing Niger-Delta and misappropriating over N40 trillion derivation funds, saying they had no honorable standing to make demands on the federal government.
The militants in their demand said: “RNDA and the nine militant groups vehemently reject and oppose the seven-point demands made by the governors of the South-South region following their meeting with a delegation of the federal government, headed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, at Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”
“The seven -point demands for restructuring, true federalism, resource control and others at this point in time after the #EndSARS youth protests which now negate 21-day ultimatum by RNDA should not be taken seriously because they lack the moral right to ask for any such seven- point demands.
“If anything, and if at all, the governors should first of all come out openly to give proper account of the over N44.9 to N50 trillion that these South -South governors have collected from the federal government as 13 percent derivation fund through the Federation Accounts all these years without any tangible meaningful people -oriented human capital development to address the sufferings of the people of the oil rich region.
“This is why the oil and gas producing communities’ demand that the federal government should stop, henceforth, paying the 13 percent derivation fund to governors. The governors are owing debts to the tune of over N2 trillion. Records from the Debt Management Office shows the South-South states alone is indebted to the tune of N1.4 trillion,” the group said.
“There is a break down to show that out of the 13 per cent derivation fund, the governors in the South-South region have collected from 1999 -2018: Akwa Ibom- N1. 47trillion; Bayelsa- N1. 09 trillion; Cross Rivers- N278.12 billion; Delta State- N39. 9 trillion; Edo- N84. 54 billion; and Rivers-N 1. 44 trillion.
“Yet the oil and gas producing communities which are the legitimate owners of these 13 per cent funds through the proceeds of the crude oil production from their backyard are still wallowing in abject poverty with all this huge amount in trillions in the hands of these South- South governors and now, they still have the temerity to demand for restructuring and resource control.
“How will that be possible at this point in time? These South-South governors cannot fool us anymore. Our governors have embezzled and mismanaged these monies with their cronies and nothing to show, no meaningful projects, no people- oriented human capital development in the creeks and nothing reasonable to show for the huge amount.”