13 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Yenagoa — A militant group in the Niger Delta, the Reformed Egbesu Fraternity, REF, has called on the federal government to halt the disbursement of the 13 percent derivation fund through governors in the region.
The group says that the payment of 13% derivation fund through the governors has only enriched a few politicians while failing to address the objectives for which the fund was established.
In a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the REF urged the government to establish structures that incorporate only oil-producing communities and those impacted by the exploitation of hydrocarbons.
The petition signed by Ebi Alagbakouriwei, the ‘General Officer Commanding’ REF, argued that paying through the governors contradicts section 162 (2) of the 1999 constitution and item 39 on the Exclusive List.
“We, therefore demand that the federal government stops the allocation of 13 percent derivation to the state governors of oil and gas producing states and pay the derivation component to oil and gas-producing communities through appropriate structures,” the REF demanded.
The group also demanded an investigation into how over N11 trillion derivation fund has been spent since the commencement of the payment of the fund through the state governors.
“The host communities producing oil and gas reported to the EFCC that N277 billion remains unaccounted for till date, but the commission bluntly refused to take action.
“They took the matter to the law court in Delta State for the past three years, the case has never been heard till now.
“But it has been transferred from one judicial division to the other including Owa Oyibu, Asaba, Udu and back to Warri. The case has been perpetually adjourned at every sitting over the last three years,” the REF petition read.
“We wish to warn that the continuous indifference to this demand and appeal is an invitation to chaos and violence. Inasmuch as we do not subscribe to violence in the resolution of our demands, we condemn the Niger Delta governors for the diversion of the fund for the last 15 years.
“The federal government should partner host communities and not state governors. In this connection, we commend Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Petroleum for their commitment to the peace process and development of the region.
“Consequently, we demand two modular refineries in each of the nine states producing oil and gas and the immediate cessation of the allocation of derivation fund to the governors,” it noted.