By Emmanuel Elebeke
New oil producing communities in Ika and Aniocha Local Government Councils of Delta North Senatorial District of Delta State have joined the league of oil producing Communities in Nigeria.
This was disclosed during a delegation of 10 Traditional Rulers, their chiefs, women and youths of Akumazi, Umunede, Ute-okpu, Ute-erume, Ute-Ogbeje, Ekuku-Agbor, Nsukwa, Olodu, Ewuru, Idumuesah and Ejeme visited the leadership of the oil and gas producing communities of Nigeria, Senator F.S. Okpozo and Dr. Wellington Okirika to express their appreciation and thanks for the purposeful leadership that these two great leaders have offered in the struggle for direct payment of 13% Derivation Fund to oil and gas producing communities of Nigeria at the Warri residence of the league leader.
Speaking at the ceremony, the spoke person for the delegation Hon. Okafor Wallace said that they have followed very closely the agitation and advocacy of the oil and gas communities for direct payment of 13 per cent Derivation Fund to oil and gas communities.
He said that the 13 per cent Derivation Fund is a constitutional matter that must be implemented to full benefit of the people of the oil and gas communities and expressed gratitude for the efforts so far by the leadership of LOPCN . They however, pledged to join the struggle for the direct payment of 13 per cent Derivation Fund to oil and gas producing communities.
Responding, Dr. Wellington Okirika, said that 13 per cent Derivation Fund is not manner from Heaven, people fought for it by the oil and gas producing communities during the 1994/95 constitutional conference.
Also speaking, Okirika said during 1999 constitutional draft committee, the oil and gas communities fought again to ensure that it was enshrined in the 1999 constitution and called on the federal government to give the oil producing communities what is due to them.
“The Federal Government should stop robbing Peter to pay Paul. The Federal government should give 13% to those who fought for it and also put same in the 1999 constitution,” he said.
Continuing, he said “The constitution provision is very clear. It provided that the principal of derivation is constantly reflected in any approved formula, not less than 13% of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any resources. In this provision there is no mention of the State Government.
This is clearly a great disservice and oppression of the voiceless and helpless oil producing communities to continue to pay the 13% Derivation Fund through any State Government Account. How long can this great injustice continue, God saved our souls,” he added.
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