Niger Delta states deserve more than 13% derivation, says Okowa
Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday said oil-producing states deserved more than 13 per cent derivation from the Federation Account.
He consequently demanded the release of the funds being owed the affected states under the principle.
The governor spoke when members of Post-Mortem Sub-Committee of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), led by Mr. Kabir Mashi, visited him in Asaba.
He decried the lack of adequate implementation of the derivation policy, stating that it was constitutional for the Federal Government to remit what was due to the states.
His words: “We are hoping that in the near future, we will be looking beyond 13 per cent which it is for now, and we actually believe that there is need to ensure that the money gets to Niger Delta states.
“As a state, we do understand that we are part of the federation and we pray and continue to work towards the unity of our nation.
“We also believe that it is important that for us to continue to show the kind of commitment we keep showing, every administration and finance of the nation must be done in such a way that there is fairness and justice.
“There should be an equitable approach to that and in so doing, the laws of the federation must be obeyed at all times and I guess that is why, in all fairness, this committee was put in place.”
He added: “As a state, we do understand that the oil resource as agreed by our nation is for the good of all. But very particularly, we have always insisted on the fact that since there is a constitutional provision for 13 per cent derivation, at all times, we must apply that principle for the good of all.
“This makes it equitable. Because until people come to understand the terrain, until the difficult terrains, particularly the creeks and riverside areas are being visited, people cannot completely comprehend the challenges that actually confront the people of the Niger Delta.’’
Okowa added that the topography makes it the more difficult for state governments to develop infrastructure, adding that the situation was same for those who live on the dry land.
According to him, “it is beyond the fact that oil processing leads to situations where environmental degradation occurs to the extent that our people can no longer farm or fish and their means of livelihood is actually distorted.”
He continued: “So, we are truly glad that the chairman of this committee and members are looking into all these issues.
“The Excess Crude Account is for the interest of all and we do not frown at the withdrawal of money from the account but, as we have always said, for any withdrawal from the account, first of all, we must apply the constitutional principle of deducting the 13 per cent and send it back to those it belongs to.
“The rest of it becomes the federation’s money that can be applied in the agreement of all. For instance, the issue of withdrawal of $1 billion to support the military would not have taken place.”
The governor further said: “As states from the Niger Delta area, we were not against it, but, it is only implied that in withdrawing that money, provisions must be made for the 13 per cent for the states, otherwise, it will look like we are disobeying the constitutional principles.”