By Emmanuel Elebeke
Oil producing communities in Ondo State have threatened to embark on a mass action, if their request for the direct payment of 13 percent derivation funds is not acceded to.
In a letter written to President Goodluck Jonathan and signed by leaders of the communities, they posited that the 13 percent derivation fund belongs exclusively to the oil and gas producing communities, which are the source of the derivation.
They noted that the oil facilities, flow stations and installations are located in the oil and gas producing communities, where oil exploration, exploitation and production are being carried out, leading to monumental degradation, pollution, health hazards among others, causing abject poverty in these communities.
According to the group, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has vigorously applied that the 13 percent derivation fund is not part of state consolidated revenue or that of the local government, adding that the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscals Commission, RMAFC, also agreed with the above position that the fund is not part of the consolidated revenue of any tier of government, insisting that 13 percent derivation fund is a compensation and reparation for loss of fishing rights and loss of productive farmlands.
’’Our position is that the 13 percent being managed by the governors in the oil and gas producing states is an aberration. Thus, it is clearly an implementation tragedy to pay the funds to any of the state government’s accounts.”
” The RMAFC in its submission on the new revenue formula to the 6th National Assembly stated unequivocally that the 13 percent fund was not part of fund of any tier of government. RMAFC went further and recommended the creation of state derivation boards for the oil and gas communities access the 13 percent derivation fund,” they stated.
They also called for the setting up of a National Derivation Board that would have an executive chairman, secretary and members, including a member from the RMAFC.
In pursuance of this cause, the group stated that they have written to the chairman of RMAFC, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, and the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative NEITI on the consequences of any further payment of the 13 percent fund other than the rightful and legitimate beneficiaries.
“It is illegal, unconstitutional and inconsistent with the principles of derivation to continue paying the funds to the governors. Your Excellency, we believe strongly that this is a miscarriage of justice and failure of service delivery on the part of the governors to continue to manage the 13 percent derivation fund. Apart from the fuel subsidy fraud, the 13 per cent derivation fund that have been misappropriated and misapplied by governors of the oil producing states is no doubt one of the biggest frauds ever in Nigeria’s socio-political and economic development.”