Obey Supreme Court order on Soku Oilfield, Bayelsa tells RMAFC
• Says it’s injustice to pay accruals to Rivers
Bayelsa State Government has again called on Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to comply with an order of the Supreme Court on the disputed Soku Oil and Gas Fields, which ownership is in contention between Bayelsa and Rivers states.
Governor Douye Diri made the call, yesterday, during a courtesy call on him by a fact-finding team from the federal agency in Government House, Yenagoa.
Represented by his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor said the apex court had given an order for proper demarcation of the boundary between the two states as decisive step to resolving the impasse.
He lamented that while the National Boundaries Commission was yet to implement the order, the RMAFC decided to be paying accruals from the disputed Soku Oil wells to Rivers State following a later judgment by a lower court on the same issue.
The Bayelsa helmsman posited that, for the sake of equity and justice, the accruals should be saved in an escrow account pending the final resolution of the matter.
He also recalled that the Bayelsa State Government had since secured a judgment against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which is yet to be implemented by the Commission.
Diri, who charged the RMAFC to strictly apply the right indices for revenue allocation and distribution, said the Commission needed to be more circumspect in taking decisions in respect of revenue disputes between states in the country.
According to him, the present revenue distribution formula does not meet the development needs of Nigeria as a republic with 36 federating units, and called on the Commission to display integrity and competence in ensuring that the right thing was done.
He said: “For us in Bayelsa, the indices being applied and used for revenue distribution are not correct, but skewed against us. Your duty as revenue allocation commission is quite a big responsibility to ensure the application of the right indices.
Speaking earlier, the Leader of the RMAFC delegation, Mr. Andrew Agbaga, said the 12-member team was part of the Indices and Distribution Committee of the Commission, which is currently visiting all states in the country.
Agbaga, who is the Federal Commissioner representing Delta State at the Commission, disclosed that their assignment in the state was to verify whether what is approved and distributed by RMAFC is what actually gets to the states and councils.