By Michael Eboh & Jacob Isaac
Oil producing communities in Nigeria, under the auspices of Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas in Nigeria, HOSCON, have accused the governments of oil producing states of mismanaging the 13 per cent Derivation allocation over the last 16 states.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja at its First National Conference on the 13per cent Derivation Fund, National President of HOSTCOM, Mr. Mike Emuh, called on the Federal Government to henceforth, stop remitting the 13 per cent derivation allocation to the states.
According to him, the law, as amended in the 1999 Constitution, Section 162, Sub-section 2, states that 13 percent derivation should be given to the host communities, adding that there is no law in Nigeria that stated that the 13 percent derivation should be given to a state governor or to a local government.
“It was a gross misplacement of priority that the13 per cent derivation funds were given to governors who lavished the money for the past 16 years without any development — human capital development and infrastructural development.
“Over 10 trillion naira had gone down the drain by those that claimed the money by then and this wrong act is still in practice till now.”
He called on the Federal Government to respect the law by paying the money directly to the oil producing communities, since the law said the money belongs to the host communities.
“We are aware that it would not be an easy task because the governors that are holding the 13 per cent derivation will not let it go.
But we are saying that we need our money, we need our 13 per cent derivation that is why we are here,” he added.
He called for the restructuring of the various oil producing areas development commissions set up by the various states.
He said the Boards of the commissions should be dissolved and ownership of the commissions taken from the state governments and handed to the host communities to manage.
He said, “Basically, these agencies are lame agencies in the sense that 50 per cent of the13 per cent derivation was granted to DESOPADEC of Delta state, 40 per cent was allocated to similar agencies in Abia, Edo, Ondo and other state till date. Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and others failed to give any percentage or to establish the agency.
“Who controls those percentage? It is the Governors of the state that controls the agency; they appointed the commissioners. Let me give an example. The 13 percent monthly inflow of the fund to Delta state is not less than N10 billion. 50 per cent of that is N5 billion every month. N5 billion multiplied by 12 months, it will give us 60 billion.
“I can assure you that till date N60 billion, N50 billion or N40 billion have never one day been released to the DESOPADEC; so it is just a name.
“Let those agencies be collapsed; let host communities control this agencies; let they do the nomination and let them design the project, execute it and supervise it.”
Emuh further commended the Federal Government for agreeing to engage host communities in the protection of pipeline and other oil assets, stating that the communities are the ones who understand the terrain and are capable of ensuring that a lasting solution is arrived at in terms of curbing vandalism.