Former special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, has called on states in the Niger Delta to give an account of the 13 percent derivation funds they have been receiving from the Federal Government.
Obono-Obla, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, urged them to emulate the Peoples Democratic Party’s Governor Nyesome Wike of Rivers State, who, he said, gave a comprehensive report of what his state has done with the fund.
“Wike stands out amongst the Niger Delta governors. I salute him for his doggedness, ebullience and patriotism. He is exemplary, and he has given an account of what he has done for his State from the 13 percent derivation.
“Let other Niger Delta States take a cue from Governor Wike and give a just and comprehensive account of what they have done with their 13 percent derivation fund forthwith,” Obono-Obla said in a statement on Sunday.
He alleged that the Niger Delta states had kept the releases from the 13% derivation a closely guarded secret over the years.
Over the weekend, Governor Wike had, at a commissioning ceremony in Port Harcourt, reeled out the feats of his government and also accounted for the 13 percent derivation funds the state government has received so far.
The federal government gives the derivation funds to oil-bearing states, mostly in the Niger Delta region of the country.
He had listed the other Niger Delta states which also received such funds as Edo, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom.
However, Wike did not mention Cross River State, which lost its status as an oil producer due to the loss of the sovereignty of the Bakassi Peninsula by the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Cameroon in a judgment of the International Court of Justice at Hague.
Obono-Obla, who is a lawyer and an indigene of Cross River, explained that after losing her status as a littoral state, there was litigation in the Supreme Court initiated by the Government of Cross River State against Akwa Ibom State over ownership of 76 oil wells located in the Bakassi Pennisula which Cross River State lost.
“Cross River State has, therefore, not been enjoying the 13 percent derivation that other Niger Delta states have been enjoying. This has placed Cross River State in great financial straits.”
Obono-Obla stated that the denial of 13 percent derivation to Cross River State is “an egregious injustice which has to be addressed by the Federal Government.”
The former presidential aide cautioned some Niger Delta states against blaming the Federal Government for being responsible for the region’s underdevelopment.
He insisted that the region has enjoyed huge allocations from the Federal Government over the years.
He alleged that leaders of the region turned a blind eye to the looting of their resources and mismanagement by their Governors.