11 August 2013, Lagos – Following the footsteps of their compatriots in Edo State, oil producing communities in Ondo State have written to President Goodluck Jonathan and threatened to embark on mass action if their request for the direct payment of 13 per cent derivation funds is ignored.
The signatories to the Ondo State oil producing communities letter to President Goodluck Jonathan include Elder Thompson Shawana, Chief Adewale Omojuwa, Comr. Samuel Ebiwanno, Chief Mrs. Funke Oyekanmi, High Chief A.O Sofiyea (Regent and Tarabiritorhu of Arogbo-Ibe), Chief T.O Ikuesan Dr Soji Omowole, Dr Roju Malumi Hon. Tunde Aiyemo, High Chief R.A Bekewe (Ibe-pereatorhu of Arogbo-Ibe).
The Ondo group stated in their letter that the 13 per cent derivation fund belongs exclusively to the oil and gas producing communities which are the sources of the derivation.
In the letter which reads in part, they argued that “the oil facilities, flow stations etc are located in the oil and gas producing communities where oil exploration, exploitation and production are being carried out leading to monumental degradation, pollution, health hazards among others causing abject poverty in these communities.”
As a result the letter noted that the current handling of the “13 per cent derivation fund is illegal, unconstitutional and inconsistent with the principles of derivation to continue paying the funds to the governors”, while it is supposed to be compensation and reparation for loss of fishing rights and loss of productive farmlands.
The 13 per cent being managed by the governors in the oil and gas producing states they wrote “is an aberration. Thus it is clearly an implementation tragedy to pay the funds to any of the state governments’ accounts.”
The Ondo State oil producing communities further stated in their letter that in pursuance of their cause, they have written to “the Chairman of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC, and the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, on the consequences of any further payment of the 13 per cent fund other than the rightful and legitimate beneficiaries.”
In order to avert crisis, they urged the President to direct the chairman of RMAFC, to commence the process of consultation with the leaders and youth representatives from the oil and gas producing communities of across the country with a view to constitute the National Derivation board.
It would be recalled that oil producing communities from Edo State had written to President Goodluck Jonathan to direct the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, to discontinue forthwith, the payment of the fund to the state governors.
The letter to the President was signed by Mrs. Nowan Uhunmwangho, Elder Peter Agbonkoko, Donyegha Ben, Chief Mrs V. Potoki, Mr. Edwin Ikinbor, Pastor Reuben Milton, Pastor A. B. Imafidon, Brasana Ekomiyenyefa, Olu Oyeh, Comader Segun Imafidon, Karaki Ebi, Victor Omoruyi, Hon. Jackson Ikinbor and Mrs. Queen Donyegha.
– Nduka Chiejina, The Nation