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My request for N2.9b car loan in order, governor Diri insists

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Seeks review of 13% derivation for oil bearing states
Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri at the weekend defended his request for a N2.9b loan granted by the state House of Assembly last week, saying it is in order.

Speaking with journalists in Lagos, he said contrary to insinuations that he requested the N2.9b for himself, the money was meant to purchase vehicles for senior government officials, members of the House of Assembly and judges in the state.

He said the process of securing the loan had been made transparent as part of his administration’s commitment to run an open and accountable government.

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Diri insisted that Bayelsa State was not as rich as people think, saying the state could be sitting on huge oil resources, but the state government had no control over the reserves.

Seeking a review of the 13 per cent derivation to oil producing states, Diri said, “For instance, the last allocation that came to Bayelsa State was short of N2b from the previous month’s allocation. So, we are saying let us benchmark our finances on what we have and that explains why states are looking for loans.

“A lot of people believe Bayelsa is a rich state, but truly we are not. I don’t blame anybody who says that because our country runs on oil and the oil reservoir is in Bayelsa. We are like a people bathing inside the river but soap is entering into our eyes and we are looking for water from a bucket to wash up our eyes.”

The governor argued that there was the need to review the revenue allocation and derivation formula, saying oil producing states do not get the 13 per cent derivation on paper.

“We don’t even know 13 per cent of what is being given to us. I urge other governors of the oil producing states to actually review it. The Constitution stipulates a minimum 13 per cent and we have been running on that minimum from the beginning till now. So why have we not been able to review the 13 per cent like we are reviewing minimum wage?”

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On his victory at the Supreme Court, Diri said God virtually came down from heaven on the day the apex court gave its verdict on the governorship election, adding that he and his deputy fasted for three weeks before the February 13, 2020 judgment.

“From that day, I now believe that God works miracles. That is the reason I have christened myself the ‘Miracle Governor’,” he added.

Calling on members of the opposition to join hands with him on the task of developing the state, he said he had also advised the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to set up a reconciliation committee to unite aggrieved members of

He said, “I have extended the olive branch of peace to members of the opposition. If they embrace the offer, my government will accommodate them and where possible, we would even give them appointments.”

Diri lamented that the violence unleashed on the state after the Supreme Court judgement was triggered by the inflammatory statements of opposition leaders in the state.

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