Oil producing communities in Ondo State have threatened to embark on a mass protest to press for the direct disbursement of the 13 per cent derivation funds to the communities rather than the state government.
The communities maintained that the fund was exclusively created for the oil and gas producing communities, which are the source of the derivation, and not the state.
In a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan, signed by Thompson Shawana, Adewale Omojuwa, Samuel Ebiwanno, Mrs. Funke Oyekanmi, A.O Sofiyea (Regent and Tarabiritorhu of Arogbo-Ibe), and T.O Ikuesan, Dr. Soji Omowole, Dr. Roju Malumi, Hon. Tunde Aiyemo, and Chief R.A Bekewe (Ibe-pereatorhu of Arogbo-Ibe), the group said: “The oil facilities, flow stations, among others are located in the oil and gas producing communities where oil exploration, exploitation and production are being carried out leading to monumental degradation, pollution, health hazards among others causing abject poverty in these communities.
“The 13 per cent derivation fund is a compensation and reparation for loss of fishing rights and loss of productive farmlands. Therefore, 13 per cent being managed by the governors in the oil and gas producing states is an aberration. Thus, it is clearly an implementation tragedy to pay the funds to any of the state governments accounts.”
The communities, however, called for the establishment of a National Derivation Board (NDB), which would have an executive chairman, secretary and members, including a member from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
“It is illegal, unconstitutional and inconsistent with the principles of derivation to continue paying the funds to the governors,” the group argued.
“Your Excellency, it is in view of our continued advocacy and agitation on the 13 per cent derivation fund which may have some security implications in the oil and gas producing areas that we wish to seek audience so as to brief Mr. president in details.”
The group warned that in pursuance of their cause, they had written to the Chairman of RMAFC, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), and the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), highlighting the consequences of any further payment of the 13 per cent fund other than the rightful and legitimate beneficiaries.
They therefore appealed to President Jonathan to direct the chairman of RMAFC, to commence the process of consultation with the appropriate leaders, elders and youth representatives from the oil and gas producing communities in the country with a view to forming the NDB in order to avert crisis.