By Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
A coalition of militants in the Niger Delta under the aegis of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) has called on the Niger Delta governors to account for alleged N44.68trn of 13 per cent derivation allocation from 1999 to 2018.
The RNDA also claimed that financial records available to them indicated that as from 2018 till date, the 13 per cent derivation funds collected by the region’s governors had accumulated to between N50trn and N55trn.
The coalition, therefore, demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari should henceforth stop paying the 13 per cent derivation funds to the governors of the region.
Instead, the group recommended that the 13 per cent derivation should be paid directly to the oil and gas producing communities in the interest of peace since the previous ones collected by the governors did not impact positively on the host communities and the people.
These positions are contained in an electronic mail on Thursday by the RNDA Commanding Officer, ‘Major General’ Johnmark Ezon-Ebi, after the coalition rose from their emergency meeting allegedly convened in the creeks of the region.
The coalition claimed that the governors of the oil-producing states had collected the said whopping amount of money apart from the internally generated revenues and monthly allocations from the Federation Account excluding Excess Crude monies, Paris Club bailout funds and monthly security funds and other funds.
RNDA also pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari released Paris Club bailout funds to the governors running into billions of naira but unfortunately, the debt profile of the oil producing states in the region amounted to over N1.25 trillion.
It said: “The Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), coalition of militant groups that is agitating for the overall development of the Niger Delta region, most especially for the betterment of the oil and gas producing communities in the creeks, has challenged governors of the Niger Delta to give proper account of over N55 trillion they have collected so far from the Federation Account on 13 per cent derivation from 1999 to 2021.
“The amount is without the IGRs and monthly allocations from the Federation Account. From 1999 to 2018, according to financial records obtained by us, the Niger Delta oil-producing states have received over N44.68 trillion and from 2018 to 2021 they have collected over N50 trillion.
“Despite that South-south oil producing state governors are of the opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has never denied them of the 13 per cent derivation funds monthly.
“President Buhari also has never denied them even the Paris Club bailout funds. They were given to them in billions of naira for over two consecutive times and yet these South-south six oil producing states’ debt profile is huge and running into over N1.25 trillion.”
The group also vehemently opposed the claim of the South-south governors by blaming the region’s underdevelopment on failure to inaugurate the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group also accused the governors of abandoning and neglecting the development of the oil producing communities thereby causing the youth to be restive and agitative.
The RNDA appealed to President Buhari to establish a commission to be christened ‘Nigeria Oil and Gas Derivation Commission (NOGDEC)’ as a matter of urgency to be handling the 13 per cent derivation funds and the commission should include the representatives from the oil producing communities.
It said the proposed NOGDEC would be a panacea for the reduction of militancy and agitations in the creeks as well as give a sense of belonging to the Niger Delta people, particularly those from the oil-producing communities.