Host communities of Oben and Gelegele Flow Station in Edo State have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to follow the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and direct that the 13% oil derivation fund for facilities in their domains be paid directly to them.
The communities, which are hosts to facilities of OML 4, 38 and 56, argued that the subsisting system, whereby the fund is paid to the governments of the states where oil bearing and impacted communities are located, is faulty and a violation of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, as amended.
According to a letter, signed by seven representatives of the communities, including Princess Nomwengho Uhunmwangho, Samson Egegue, Chief Donben Donyegha, Taiwo Aisien, Bishop (Dr.) Godwin Soroae, Stanley Osayande and Prince Monday Erhumwunse, addressed directly to President Buhari and made available to newsmen, the communities claimed that the funds so far released to the state governments had not had any positive impact on the host communities.
The also lamented the harsh results of oil exploration and exploitation activities on their economic and environmental lives, noting that their traditional fishing and farming engagements had been sorely washed away by oil activities, leaving them with almost no source of livelihood.
The communities in the letter said: “Constitutionally and legally, 13% of oil revenue produced in Oben/Gelegele Flow stations (CML 4. 38 and 56) should be returned back to Oben/Gelegele flow stations (OML 4 38 and 56). It is, therefore, clearly constitutional and legal that 13% derivation fund belongs exclusively to the Oil and Gas producing communities, as compensation for the loss of fishing rights and farmlands, as a result of oil exploitation and exploration activities.
“Accordingly, 13% of the oil revenue in Oben/Gelegele flow stations (OML 4 38 and 56) is our entitlement and should be paid directly to the host communities. The present practice of paying the 13% derivation fund through the state governors is therefore illegal and unconstitutional.
“The present practice also has brought untold hardship, abject poverty and abject penury to the communities. We can no longer continue with the present system as there is nothing to show in our communities for all the years of the 13% through the State Governors.
“The revenue formula confirms that 13% derivation fund is the only first-line charge on Federation Account, while the Federal Government is second line charge, the State Governments are third line charge and Local Governments are fourth line charge. It is illegal and unconstitutional to pay 13% derivation fund through State Governments, third line charge”.