22 September 2012

Nigeria: Ijaws Demand Direct Payment of 13 Percent Derivation Fund

A crisis is brewing in Delta State as host communities of the core Ijaw oil producing areas of Egbema, Gbaramatu and Ogulagha kingdoms of the state have demanded that their share of 27 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund accruing to Delta state be paid directly to them.

In a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan signed by 28 chiefs and members, each representing a community in the three kingdoms, the communities said the urgent intervention is needed in order to avoid crisis that may lead to the closure of the flow stations in their kingdoms.

The communities said their request was due to the fact that they no longer have faith in the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission, (DESOPADEC), which they claimed, have been hijacked by politicians.

The group under the aegis of Ijaw Host Communities emphasised that Section 162(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that 13 per cent derivation fund is the first charge of the Federation Account.

"13 per cent derivation fund is not part of any consolidated revenue of state government; it is not part of any state allocation. 13 per cent derivation fund is a benchmark for revenue allocation for host communities in Nigeria. It is therefore illegal to allocate 13 per cent derivation fund through a third party to the host communities.

"However in Delta, Edo, Ondo, Imo and Abia states, oil commissions have been created through which a percentage of the 13 per cent derivation fund is paid to the host communities by the state governments as a third party. This procedure and process has allowed the state governors to take over full control of the resources of these oil communities to the exclusion of the host communities.

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