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$1bn security fund: Oil states’ demand for 13% derivation in order—Lawyers

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Since the presidential approval for the release of $1bn to fund the fight against insurgency was made, there has been rising demand by leaders of thought in the Niger Delta and adjoining oil states for the deduction and payment of 13 per cent derivation from the N305bn (official equivalent of $1bn).

Whereas several regional pressure groups had been on the neck of the federal government for the release, earlier in the week, the consortium of South-South States governors rose from a closed-door meeting to officially inform the federal government that the 13 per cent must be given to the states even as they support the fight against insurgency in the first instance.

In an interview with a number of lawyers at Ikeja High Court premises on Thursday, they in unison, agreed that the law is very clear on the use of oil revenue not minding how it is being used, so far there is an approval for the release with recourse to the National Assembly.

According to the lawyers, the federal government will err in law and is actionable if it fails to set aside, the correct 13 per cent of the $1bn for disbursement to the oil producing states.

Business Hilights recalls after region’s governors’ meeting, which had in attendance Bayelsa State governor, Hon Seriake Dickson; Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel and Deputy Governor of Edo State, Hon Philip Shaibu, in Port Harcourt, Chairman of the Forum, Governor Dickson, said the governors resolved to officially communicate to the appropriate authorities for the constitutional provision of 13 per cent derivation to be applied and respected.

The current Governor General of Ijaw nation averred that “We took the collective view that with respect to the Federal Government’s effort to withdraw $1billion for national security, our position in this zone is in line with the constitutional provision on derivation.

“While we have no objection to the Federal Government spending money on security, including security of this zone, we believe the constitutional provision on 13 per cent derivation be applied and fully respected.

“We will communicate that to the appropriate authorities so that whatever amount that is withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account, being proceed of crude oil sale, is subject to the 13 per cent principle enshrined in the constitution.”

However, the federal government and minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun is yet to respond to the demands of the governors who it was discovered, are ready to approach a federal high court for the matter in case of further delays.

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