President Goodluck Jonathan
The six oil producing communities currently advocating the discontinuation of payment of the 13 per cent derivation fund directly to state governments have vowed to jettison any report or audit investigation without physical visit to the communities hosting the oil facilities.
Following increasing complaints and agitation by the communities over alleged misuse of the fund by governors, President Goodluck Jonathan had directed that an audit of all oil revenues, including the 13 per cent Derivation Fund disbursed through the Federation Account in order to ascertain the utilisation of the fund.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) had been named to conduct the proposed audit.
But in a statement signed by their respective state representatives, including William Igere (Delta); Pastor MaacPherson Kurobo (Bayelsa); Harry Opaks (Rivers); Saviour James Okon (Akwa Ibom); Princess Nomwen Uhunmwunagho (Edo) and Samuel Ebiwanno (Ondo), a copy which was made available to THISDAY, the communities appealed to NEITI to interface with the oil and gas producing communities in their audit and investigation of the 13 per cent Derivation Fund.
According to them: “We want to thank NEITI for its preparedness to carry out the directive of the President on full audit and investigation of the 13 per cent Derivation Fund early in January 2013.
“But the physical visit of NEITI to the communities would enable the organisation to ascertain the level of environmental degradation, health hazards, pollution, poverty and hunger, heightened by massive unemployment among the youths of the oil and gas producing communities.”
Continuing, the statement said: “We wish to affirm in very strong terms that any report or audit investigation without physical visit to the communities hosting oil facilities is unacceptable to the communities.”
The group added that the illegal and unconstitutional payment of 13 per cent Derivation Fund through the state governments had left the actual oil and gas producing communities in abject poverty.
“The state governments which received this money illegally used the fund to develop their state capitals and non oil and gas producing communities, leaving the actual oil and gas producing communities in hunger and penury,” the communities argued.