Udora Orizu in Abuja
An advocacy group, Niger Delta Peace and Development Advocates (NDPDA), has faulted the claim by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, that governors of the Niger Delta states were diverting the 13 per cent derivation fund.
It also said the advocacy of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, for the establishment of a Derivation Commission was not in the interest of the region.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, the NDPDA President, Mr. Efe Mac-Daniel, said Omo-Agege and Enang were only dancing to the drumbeats of the region’s oppressors.
Mac-Daniel wondered why they were trying to divert attention from the failure of the federal government to address the developmental challenges of the region.
He said the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) remains under-funded by the federal government, which has virtually rendered the interventionist agency comatose.
“So, how many commissions do they want for the Niger Delta?
“What diversion is Senator Omo-Agege talking about when almost all states in the Niger Delta have oil producing area development commissions?
“The most strategic road in the region, which is the East-West Road, remains uncompleted and abandoned. That is a federal road. But the Deputy Senate President and the presidential aide, two prominent sons of the region, prefer to play politics with our development because of their 2023 ambition.
“We also wonder why they are not interested in the upward review of the derivation formula when the federal government continues to shortchange our region.
“For years, the government at the centre has been taking 87 per cent of the revenue from our resources while a paltry and dubious 13 per cent is paid to oil producing states. Who collects the royalties from gas flaring while our region and environment remain polluted? They do not see the injustice and inequity in these but rather prefer to whip up sentiments against governors of the region.
“We already know and have identified those working against the interest of the Niger Delta. We are determined not to reward internal collaborators from the region any longer with high political offices. At the appropriate time, we will launch a campaign against such persons,” Mac-Daniel said.
He called on the two leaders to retrace their steps, saying the people of the region were now more politically conscious and aware of their rights.
He also noted that the derivation fund belongs exclusively to the oil producing states, adding that the federal government cannot determine and dictate to the states how it is disbursed.