… S’South govs not frolicking with 13% derivation —Okowa’s CPS
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South & Michael Eboh
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, yesterday, accused the governors of Niger Delta states of being unkind to the region and to oil-producing states.
Meanwhile, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa , who is the Chairman, South-South Governors Forum, Olisa Ifejika, told Vanguard that it was not true that governors of the region were cavorting with the 13 per cent derivation to the their states.
The Imo State government also denied the allegation.
Enang also appealed to the relevant committees of the National Assembly to call the management of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, to order, saying that the agency was veering off its purpose of promoting local content among oil-producing communities
Speaking at a webinar on ‘Resolving the Host Communities Question,’ organised by Orderpaper in partnership with the House of Representatives’ Committee on Niger Delta and Nigeria Natural Resource Charter, NNRC, Enang also accused the governors of misappropriating the 13 per cent derivation fund.
Enang said: “The governors have not been kind to the Niger Delta, and I want to pray that the National Assembly amend the Niger Delta Development Commission Act, as well as amend the constitution so that the 13 per cent derivation does not go to the governors; it should go to the host communities and targeted at the development of these communities.
“This is because the governors used the 13 per cent derivation to buy aircrafts and used the money to develop and build many houses and these monies are found in Banana Island and foreign countries. Let us find a legislative means whereby these monies can be used for the development of the communities.
“If we do not take care, Niger Delta will be given the same treatment that Enugu was given. When oil ceases to be important, when solar energy and other alternative energy sources are exploited to the fullest, we would be looking for who to pay to rid our area of oil pollution.
“See what has happened to Enugu; it has been abandoned now by Nigeria. It was the state where coal was taken to power our locomotives and energy; but today, Enugu is suffering from erosion, suffering from ecological challenges.”
NCDMB deviating from mandate
On NCDMB, Enang maintained that the application of the NCDMB Act should be examined and monitored to ensure that the board does not continue to act outside its purpose and mandate.
He said: “I want the legislators to look at the application of the Local Content Act, because NCDMB is now focusing on big capital projects instead of looking at the local communities in every oil area.
“Let the committee on Niger Delta look at the NCDMB Act and the NCDMB, headed by Simbi Wabote. It is almost veering out of purpose; it is not working for the development or management of local content in oil-producing areas. Let it return to the mandate for which it was created.”
Oil coys fuelling conflict
He also accused oil companies of fuelling conflict in Niger Delta and contributing to impoverishing people of the region, while they continue to explore for crude oil and gas unhindered.
Also speaking, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, lamented that there had not been effective monitoring of benefit transfer mechanisms in Niger Delta, such as Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the 13 per cent derivation fund.
She called for the scrapping of the NDDC, stating that the commission had failed in its mandate, while advocating the use of the model for the development of Abuja to develop the Niger Delta, using established contractors to build major infrastructure in the region.
She insisted that Niger Delta needed huge infrastructure development, noting that this would create jobs in the region.
S’South govs not frolicking with 13% derivation
Denying Enang’s allegations, Ifejika said: “You may be aware that the 13 per cent derivation fund that comes to the state is what gave birth to Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, because it is believed that it is because of oil producing status of the state that the money comes
“In the wisdom of former governor, Chief James Ibori, then, he felt that instead of holding it and making it part of government revenue and people would be screaming, he created DESOPADEC, where the money is channeled.
“That is why you find virtually everything is given to DESOPADEC to manage for the oil-bearing communities. It is like taking your destiny in your hands. DESOPADEC is for the oil-producing communities and the money is given to them to manage.
“The only thing that government does is to make them accountable, so the money comes and DESOPADEC is known to bring its budget to government through the state House of Assembly and they scrutinize it and give them the money.
“Once approved, the money goes to them, just the same structure that the NDDC gets money at the federal level. The money goes to them, Delta State government has adopted that pattern for the 13 per cent derivation and it is been like that.
“The executive does not appropriate that money directly, it is given to DESOPADEC for the oil producing communities in their own interest,” he added.
Imo State Information Commissioner, Mbadiwe Emelumba in his reaction said that the presidential aide’s accusations do not apply to Imo State.
His words, “Since our governor assumed office, all accruals of the derivation fund due Imo State has not been touched because the governor said that he wanted to clean up things and ensure that things are done the way they should be. The derivation due to Imo State has not been touched since Uzodinma took office. So, Enang’s accusations cannot apply to Imo State.”
Also when contacted, Ondo State Information Commissioner, Mr Donald Ojogo, said he would need to read the full text of Enang statement, so as to respond appropriately.