Ondo State OGPCN Chairman, Chief Adewale Omojuwa
By James Sowole
Oil producing communities in Ondo State at the weekend asked the Federal Government through the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to release directly to them the 13 per cent oil derivation fund due to the state on monthly basis.
The communities, which frowned at the release of the money to the state governments which then release certain percentage for the development of the oil producing communities, said they were being cheated in the disbursement of the funds.
The call of the communities was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting of the representatives of oil communities in the two coastal councils of Ilaje and Ese-Odo under the aegis of the state branch of Oil and Gas-Producing Communities of Nigeria (OGPCN).
The representatives from Ondo State appealed to the Federal Government to follow the provision that established the fund without any sort of manipulation by any of the state governments.
According to them, the 1999 Constitution that established the fund specifically stated that the money should be set aside for the benefits of the oil-producing communities unlike what has become the practice with the money being channelled through the state intervention agencies.
In a communique issued after the meeting and signed by the Ondo State OGPCN Chairman, Chief Adewale Omojuwa, who once headed the state intervention agency, the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), “resolved that the 13 per cent Derivation Fund as established under Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), should be released to oil and gas-producing communities accordingly.
“The stakeholders urged the president, the National Assembly and the RAMFC to give effect to the spirit and letters of the constitution by ensuring direct remittance of the 13 per cent oil mineral derivation fund to the oil and gas-producing communities.”
Stakeholders at the meeting also “enjoined the National Assembly to speedily pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is before it”, adding that the new law will correct many anomalies inherent in the nation’s petroleum economy.
The meeting assured authorities that the fund would be managed creditably well and eschew bitterness and rancour that the release of such funds might cause among member communities stressing that “in this instance, the greatest thing is our resolve to develop our land.”