CLARK TO OKOWA: Account for N250 billion 13% oil derivation funds you collected from FG or risk prosecution
Ijaw national leader and convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has asked the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to account for the N250 billion his government collected from the Consolidated Revenue Fund as the 13 percent oil derivation funds in the last seven and half years.
Clark stated this in an open letter he addressed to Okowa, which he read to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
Clark alleged that the 13 percent derivation funds received by the state government were mismanaged.
He vowed to drag the governor to court as soon as his tenure ends on May 29 this year, if he fails to give details account to the people of the state.
He said the revelation by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyensom Wike that Delta State had received over N250 billion as 13 percent derivation in the last seven and half years, came to him as a shock.
He noted with concern that the projects so far executed in the state by the Governor had not allegedly justified the amount of money that had accrued to the state from the derivation funds. Rather, Clark accused the governor of allegedly establishing major institutions in his village at the detriment of the real oil producing communities which were being denied necessary development.
He alleged that the governor was spending the state funds with impunity because residents were scared of him.
Clark also took a swipe at Okowa who he accused of allegedly betraying his fellow southern governors who were routing for a southern presidency, by accepting to be the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He vowed that his group, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF) would continue to oppose the Atiku/Okowa PDP joint candidature until after the presidential election.
He also accused the governor of not speaking up against the alleged activities of the armed Fulani herdsmen who were perpetrating atrocities in the area.
Part of the letter read: “This will definitely come to you as a surprise because of my unusual silence over your nearly eight years governance in Delta State. But my unusual silence does not mean I have kept a blind eye over some corrupt and misuse of power by you.
“This is particularly, having regards to my activities during your predecessors’ reign where I openly criticised them, and I was tagged a trouble maker by my detractors; hence I did not act for some time during your administration.
“It is my intension therefore to release some of these ugly information to Delta State people by your lack of sincere, lack of honest, and lack of transparent administration.
“This is especially as the Delta people are scared of you and unable to speak out against your government. Most of them have been reduced to mere robots either because of self-interest or personal patronage or the allowances they receive from the government.
“I am indeed very sad that some of our leaders from the state who betrayed us in Abuja, during Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s presidential primaries in 2010/2011 have relocated to Delta State to perpetuate their evil design again. Let them be warned, otherwise, they will be exposed.
“We can now understand the reason you are never serious with your chairmanship of the South-South Governors Forum since this will definitely compromise your ambition.
“You never for one day joined your colleagues to condemn the atrocities being perpetrated against our people particularly the atrocities being committed by the armed AK 47 herdsmen who invaded Uvwheru, Igbuzor, Okpanam, Abraka and very lately Patani. This is because it will annoy your Northern friends.
“However, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) have resolved to oppose your joint candidature with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and this we will continue to do so until election day.”
He also accused the governor of running the state with his cronies and relativesClark said, “Take note, there are many issues of corruption and abuse of office perpetrated by you and your government.
“This is ranging from one of your siblings partaking in the building of the Prof. Chike Edozien New Civil Service Secretariat Complex, Asaba.
“Clark equally accused the governor of patronising a newly established bank because he allegedly had interest in the financial institution.He said,
“The Premium Trust Bank, which is now your government bank to the extent that the new loan you wanted to take from a consortium of banks will be paid through Premium Trust Bank, the development which did not go down well with the banks and its allies.
“They therefore withdrew and pulled out from the deal. The Delta State government now approached the Delta State House of Assembly again for a fresh loan approval of N120bn, and this time around, Premium Trust Bank will be the lead lender. What is unclear is that; is the N120bn loan is in addition to previous N250bn approved by the House or a fresh one?
“Meanwhile, I have decided to concentrate on the misuse of about N250 billion 13 per cent derivation fund which you collected from the federal government and corruptly misused by your Administration for the purpose of which the fund was made available for.
“At this juncture, I wish to reproduce for the public knowledge, what the constitution says about the use of the 13 per cent derivation fund in section 162 (2) of the Nigeria constitution, and no one has power, capacity or authority to tamper with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria except through amendment of the constitution by the National Assembly.
“The constitution states that, ‘The President, upon the receipt of advice from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account.
“In determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density;
“Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.
Furthermore, the elder statesman stated: “The Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission DESOPADEC was established in 2006 under James Ibori’s administration to manage 50 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund accruable to the State and its laws came into force on 1st day of August 2006.
“The Commission changed the socio-economic development of host communities within the mandate areas of the Commission.
“The DESOPADEC law section 17 sub-section 1A part 5 (Funds and Accounts), the sources of funds of the commission shall be:-Fifty percent (50%) of the thirteen percent (13%) oil derived fund or any other percentage approved accruing to the Delta State Government from the Federation account.
“This law seeks to provide for an organised management and administrative structure for an effective use of the 50 per cent or any increased percentage of the 13 per cent oil derivation fund accruing to Delta State Government for the purpose of tackling the under development and ecological problems which arise from the exploration and exploitation of oil minerals in the oil and gas producing areas of Delta State.
“With the establishment of DESOPADEC, the management of the 13 per cent derivation is now entirely in the hands of DESOPADEC as a Commission.
“This clearly shows that the Governor of Delta State has no business for which he kept 50 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation for the use of the oil producing areas of the state.
“I wish to refresh your memory on the official figure issued by the Federal Government of Nigeria on the buck payment approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, which your colleague of River State, Nyesom Wike publicly admitted to your annoyance.
“You have between now and May 29, 2023, to give your report to the people of Delta State as per how this huge amount of money was being spent by you to your people, otherwise, we will end up in the Law Court.
“The Elder Stateman reproduced a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics on how oil-producing states in Nigeria received N448 billion in 2021 as 13 per cent oil derivatives.
He said Delta State received the highest amount, with N141.93 billion.According to him, “The Oil-producing states in Nigeria received a sum of N448.67 billion as part of their 13 per cent oil derivatives for the year 2021, representing a 5.8 per cent increase compared to N424 billion shared in the previous year,” he concluded.