…tasks Yar’Adua on 13% derivation
By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA – Pan Niger Delta Coalition group, the Niger Delta Restoration Initiative (NDRI), at the weekend in Abuja called on President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™adua and the National Assembly, to as a matter of urgency and in the spirit of amnesty granted militants in the region, compel all oil producing states in the Niger Delta to establish an Oil Producing Development Commission (OPCDC) in their respective states to ensure rapid and equitable development of oil bearing communities.
According to NDRI in a statement, for there to be endearing peace in line with the amnesty, and for the 13 per cent derivation allocated the oil producing states by the Federal Government to have impact, the oil bearing communities in particular must feel the effect of development from the funds.
NDRI regretted in its statement that after painstaking consultations with stakeholders in the Niger Delta, including leaders and youth of oil bearing communities, traditional rulers, as well as organised volunteer groups, it was glaring that the oil producing communities in the core Niger Delta states are not benefiting from the present 13 per cent Derivation Fund allocated to their various states.
Emphasizing that only Delta and Ondo states presently have such agencies in existence, NDRI, however, expressed dismay that oil bearing communities even within the two states where the development commissions existed, are not feeling the impact of statutorily allocated funds because the governors and politicians had hijacked the process of disbursement to the detriment of the pauperized communities.
The group demanded the direct disbursement of the derivation funds to OPCDCs if eventually initiated in all oil producing states in the Niger Delta, pointing out the creation of at least three additional states for the Ijaws in Ondo, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers states would hasten and sustain the peace process in the troubled area even if it would amount to a reduction of the present 13 per cent derivation fund.