A group of former Niger Delta militants, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), has asked the region’s governors to explain what they did with over N50 trillion they got from the 13 per cent derivation funds.
It faulted the governors on the seven-point demands presented at a consultative meeting with Federal Government delegation in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The RNDA said the demands and restructuring template do not represent the oil and gas producing communities’ interests.
In an electronic statement by its Coordinator, John Mark Ezonebi, the group called on the Federal Government to stand firm on the direct payment of derivation funds to oil-producing communities.
RNDA rejected the seven-point demands due to the alleged misuse of development funds accruing to the states.
It said Southsouth governors should rather account for the about N50 trillion that accrued to them from the Federal Government as 13 per cent derivation funds over the years without any meaningful people-oriented projects.
The coalition said: “We, therefore, call on the Federal Government’s delegation headed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari not to take the seven-point demands seriously.
“The governors of the region have lost the support and sympathy of the people. The demands do not represent the general interest of the long-suffering people of the oil and gas producing communities ravaged by environmental pollution and the hazards of oil exploration and exploitation caused by the multinational oil companies in the creeks of the region.
“The suffering of the people of the oil-producing communities is due to the governors’ failure to properly utilise the 13 per cent derivation funds accruing to the region.
“The oil and gas producing communities demand that the Federal Government should henceforth stop paying the 13 per cent derivation funds to the governors anymore.”
A former Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide President, Udengs Eradiri, reacting to the Zamfara gold controversy, knocked the governors for failing to harness the potential and mineral resources within their domains to turn around the fortunes of their state.
The former IYC boss said the usual culture of blaming the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari was an indication that the states’ leaders could not realise that they were sitting on a goldmine.
He told our correspondent: “Buhari did not stop our Niger Delta governors from setting up their various state oil companies that will go into the petroleum sector like refining, logistics services, storage, downstream activities, services, among others.” (The Nation)