Oil drilling operation
Host communities of core Ijaw oil-producing areas of Egbema, Gbaramatu and Ogulagha Kingdoms in Delta State have threatened to shut down oil flow stations unless they were directly paid their alleged share of 27 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund which accrues to the state.
The communities, in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan signed by 28 chiefs and members from each of the communities in the three kingdoms, a copy which was made available to THISDAY, said urgent intervention was required to avoid crisis that may lead to the closure of the flow stations in their kingdoms.
“Thirteen per cent derivation fund is not part of any consolidated revenue of state government; it is not part of any state allocation. Thirteen 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,” they insisted in their petition.
Continuing, the communities said: “ 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. In Delta state the situation has been so embarrassing and has come to a boiling point where the host communities have been driven to the wall.”
The communities said they no longer have faith in the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission, (DESOPADEC), which they alleged, have been hijacked by politicians.
The group under the aegis of Ijaw Host Communities maintained 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.
The group alleged that the monthly allocation of 50 per cent of the state derivation fund was either not paid to DESOPADEC as at when due and there were often shortfall in payment, a situation which had led to contractors not being paid for jobs certified done.
“In the last three years, jobs completed and commissioned by the governor have not been fully paid for in the last three years. Contractors who borrowed money from banks are already having issues with the banks as the banks have seized the collaterals for the loans.
“When the part payments are made, the banks seized all such payments to settle accrued interest for the loan for the past three years, so that the contractors have nothing to take home for their efforts, as a result, many have died from hypertension and frustration.”