The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has urged the Federal Government to exclude the 13 percent derivation funds accruable to oil producing states from the controversial $1bn to be deducted from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight the insurgency in the North-East.
Dickson requested that the 13 percent derivation component of the $1billion be deducted and sent to the various oil producing states to prevent them from making double contributions to the security funds.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, on Wednesday in Abuja, Dickson contended that the implication of the withdrawal inclusive of the 13 percent was that the oil producing states would be making double contributions to the security funds.
The Governor stressed that the oil producing states would be contributing not only their statutory allocations like other states but also their 13 percent derivation fund constitutionally designed to address special circumstances including security, occasioned by the hazards of oil production.
He stated further that he had discussed the issue with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is also Chairman of the National Economic Council.
Dickson revealed that the matter had been tabled before the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari.
He noted that while Bayelsa was not against the withdrawal of the funds to enhance national security, the utilization of the funds should benefit the entire security agency and service and cover every part of the country.
The Governor said, “Our position generally has been that leaders should collaborate on issues of national security and the economy. On these matters, there should be no partisanship or showmanship because these issues touch on the core of our nation and the individual well-being of everybody.
“Secondly, as it has been done before, Bayelsa has no opposition to the withdrawal of money for national security expenditure targeted at improving the capacity of our military and security agencies to protect the territorial integrity of the country and all Nigerians.
“Our position is that the 13 percent derivation element be deducted and sent to the states. Not doing so means that the oil producing states would be contributing from both ends: we will be contributing our statutory allocations like every other state, and then the 13 percent derivation which is meant to address special circumstances as oil producing states, including security challenges.”
Dickson further requested that a committee of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum be set up to interface with the Chairman of the National Economic Council and leadership of the national security agencies to receive briefings on the details of items to be procured.
According to him, it is necessary for the committee to be briefed on the modalities of procurement to allay concerns already expressed by a cross-segment of the populace.
Dickson said that Bayelsa like other states would be interested in knowing what component of these security procurements would directly benefit the security architecture in Bayelsa.
“That a committee of the Governors’ Forum be set up forthwith to liaise with the Vice President as Chairman of the National Economic Council, and heads of the national security agencies to receive briefings on details of the proposed procurements in order to allay the concerns being expressed segments of our population. We would like to know specifically what aspects of these investments are coming to Bayelsa,’’ he added.