Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
Ijaw Leader and Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, wrote an open letter to the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, demanding detailed expenditure of the 13 per cent Oil derivation funds totalling N1,077,450,285,552.17.
Clark said he got the information of the total amount that had so far accrued to the state government in the last eight years as 13 per cent Oil derivation from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation on May 10 this year.
Part of the letter read: “Your Excellency, this open letter is a follow-up to the first one I wrote to you on 2nd February, 2023, asking you to give account of your stewardship, how you spent the monies you have received from the federal government; this time as it pertains the 13% Derivation Fund.
“Like I stated in my first open letter to Your Excellency, oil producing states receive the derivation fund on behalf of the oil producing communities. The 13% derivation fund is paid directly to the oil producing states by the federal government, and the state is supposed to use at least half of the funds, to develop the oil producing communities in their States.
“This is because these communities are the worst sufferers of the effect of the oil exploration. The fund is paid as a recompense or amelioration for the harms these communities suffer.
“For a very long time, the amount paid by the federal government as 13% derivation fund to oil producing states, have been shrouded in secrecy, until not too long ago, when the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesome Wike, revealed how much his state and other counterpart states that are oil producing, have been receiving from the Federal Government.
“That statement by Governor Wike blew the lid off the container. The mind-boggling figures received by the State Governors/governments were made public. For some reasons quite surprising and difficult to understand, you were agitated when your colleague-governor, Nyesome Wike, made that revelation.
“More surprising was the fruitless efforts your officials immediately embarked upon to proffer explanation of what was paid, what was received and how it was spent. For instance, that you used N5 billion (five billion) to settle pensioners. The spontaneous reaction and fruitless efforts of you and your officials, got some of us very inquisitive.
“So, I decided to obtain from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, a certified true copy of the total amount the Delta State government has received from the Federal Government between 2007 and 2015, the period of which Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan was Governor of the State, and between June 2015 – December 2022, your period as Governor.
“My findings reveal that you have received a total sum of N1,077,450,285,552.17 (one trillion, seventy seven billion, four hundred and fifty million, two hundred and eighty five thousand, five hundred & fifty two Naira, seventeen Kobo); as 13% derivation fund in your administration.
“There will be need to give an account of this money. This letter will be copied to your predecessor in office, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, for him to also account for the money he received from the Federal Government from June 2007 to May 2015, amounting to N765,662,198,080.07 (seven hundred and sixty five billion, six hundred sixty two million, one hundred and ninety eight thousand, eighty naira, seven Kobo).
“From the records available, you have only released, in instalments, the sum of N232 billion to the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) out of the 50% of the derivation fund received, which ought to go to the oil producing communities. In fact, you kept under your control the total amount paid by the federal government, and dispense it as you like. This is ultra vires.”