By Tordue Salem – Abuja
A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Dagogo Farah, has accused governors of the Niger Delta of prodigal expenditure of the thirteen per cent derivation allocated to them from oil sales.
The lawmaker from Rivers State said this in an interview with VANGUARD on Thursday.
“This is a very sad commentary as it relates to the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta. The 13 per cent Derivation is the fund set aside to assist oil-producing communities to tackle infrastructural decay and degradation, emphasis on the oil-producing communities.
“What it means basically is that in sharing the federation account revenue, 13 per cent should be set aside to assist the development of these oil-producing communities.
“About two decades down the line what is there to show for the humongous monies that have come in? The Governors, past and present, view it as free monies”, he said.
The federal legislator, also accused the Governor’s, of wasting N10 trillion from the derivation fund in 8 years.
“Between 2000 and 2018, over N10trillion from the 13 per cent derivation principle, have been shared to the Niger Delta Governors, on behalf of the oil-producing communities, yet the deplorable living conditions of the people from these oil-producing communities have remained nauseating and deplorable with the people battling and still reeking with the worst and highest form of poverty.
“For instance in Rivers State where I come from, oil-producing communities that are in the riverine areas, have been begging for the Trans-Kalabari ring road to connect the riverine communities, where the oil-producing communities are located, with the uplands areas and fasten development”, he claimed.
According to him, “This ring road alone will connect the oil-producing communities with other areas of the state and ease that problem of mobility.
“If you are very versed with the Niger Delta region or with Rivers State, you understand the economic value that comes with this road.
“Regrettably, it has become fashionable to use it as campaign promises and abandon it on assumption of power”.
According to him, “This project will cost less than N30billion and could signify proof that the 13 per cent Derivation fund is actually being utilized for the oil-producing communities as it was spelt out.
“Unfortunately, the Governors are rather more interested in superfluous and white elephant projects that could be used to embezzle funds.
“Conduct an investigation to these areas, these oil-producing communities and you will weep when you gauge their abject living conditions with what had been allocated for them. No electricity, no drinking water, no roads, total lack of basic amenities”.
He further explained that “For instance, oil-producing communities, through their state governors, received N602.37 billion as their 13 per cent derivation fund from the Federal Government between January 2017 and April 2018.
“Imagine the positive effects a whopping N602.37 billion would have on the lives of the people and its communities if a fraction of these monies were channelled towards the development of these communities?”.
The legislator also accused the Federal government of encouraging the waste of resources in the oil-producing states.
“And there is this grand conspiracy of silence from the Federal Government. Why are the right questions not being asked?
“What is the true state of the suspicious financial hanky panky in the actual production and cost as it relates to the figures the International Oil Companies reel out?
“Why are the IOCs allowed to do their costing in dollars with appaling disregard for the currency of the country they operate in especially when the 13 per cent are derived through them?
“How could the people from these communities be left in such sorry state and the Federal Government is not doing anything about it, especially as the Governors, who receive these fund on behalf of them, have been indifferent to their plight and have established a line that they would rather fill their pockets with the funds and continue to live large than commit such to the development of the communities.
“I challenge any Governor from the Niger Delta oil-producing communities to explain, with irrefutable facts, how they have actually used the derivation funds to better the lives of the people and their oil-producing communities.
“Their explanations could only be imagined as It would only amount to looking for a needle in a haystack, it will not produce anything concrete.
“However, I strongly believe it is never too late to correct the wrongs of the past. I have a positive conviction that this set of governors will side on the right side of history and do justice to the revenues they are getting on behalf of the oil-producing communities”.
On the alleged rot in the NDDC, he urged the President “to overhaul the NDDC in such a manner that will eradicate to the barest minimum some of the notable problems militating against the ability of the NDDC to deliver on its mandate.
“Rejig the NDDC and ensure it religiously adhere to the core mandate for setting it up, especially in the areas of meaningful intervention”.
According to him, “The monies credited to the NDDC in the last decade is not near commensurate with what is on ground in the Niger Delta.
“It bears similarity to how the Governors have mismanaged the 13%derivation funds. I would like to see reputable recruitment agencies contracted to administer a recruitment drive open to qualified and competent local and Diaspora Nigerian indigenes from the NDDC member states for recruitment into the board and Management cadre.
“These recruited personnel are to run the NDDC in a very professional semi corporate manner, a complete departure from the unnecessarily bureaucratic manner being presently operated.
“This pattern of recruitment substantially curtails political interference and pandering to the whines and caprices of politicians and influential Nigerians who are in the habit of planting Board and Management staff in proxy for themselves”.