Niger Delta Militants Threaten Fresh Attacks Over 13% Derivation Fund Diversion

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Some militant groups in the Niger Delta have threatened to resume hostilities and abandon their ceasefire with the federal government over the alleged diversion of oil money by their state governors.

They allege that President Muhammadu Buhari has ignored their demand to stop the payment of 13 percent oil derivation fund to state governors in the region.

The fund was meant to develop host communities of oil exploration activities.

The groups, under the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), said series of complaints and petitions against the governors’ alleged diversion of funds accruing from the 13 percent derivation into personal pockets while neglecting the much-needed development in the oil-producing communities seem to have been ignored by President Muhammadu Buhari going by his refusal to stop payment of the derivation funds to the governors.

 

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This, they said, would lead to bloodshed and shutting down the nation’s oil economy.

The militant groups, who spoke through one ‘Major General’ Johnmark Ezonebi, also known as Obama, faulted the payment of the derivation funds to state governors despite protests and suggestions that it be paid directly to the oil-producing communities in the region in order to attend to their needs and improve their welfare.

According to Ezonebi, the groups, after an emergency meeting held in Delta State, concluded that they would soon end the ceasefire they agreed with the federal government on August 21, 2016, if the payment of the derivation funds to the governors continues.

“We will not fold our arms and continue to tolerate the deliberate perpetual injury occasioned by the governors of the oil-producing states on people of the region,” he said.

According to the groups, there is deliberate neglect by governors of the region who, despite receiving such huge amounts monthly, allow the people in the communities to suffer in penury.

“There is deliberate abandonment and neglect by the governors of the South-South states who are receiving over N180 billion to N200 billion yearly from the federation account as payment of 13 percent derivation funds from the federal government on behalf of the oil-producing communities in the region as part payment to develop the oil-producing communities, but the governors have channeled the funds into their pockets with their cronies and turned deaf ears to the people.

“The governors have deliberately refused to use the funds to develop these oil-producing communities in the creeks while leaving them in total darkness and abject poverty without any significant infrastructural development as they continue to suffer environmental pollution, degradation, exploration and exploitation activities in these communities.”

He decried the situation as sheer heartlessness on the part of governors against oil-producing communities.

According to him, these governors sit on and use for themselves what belongs to the oil-producing communities while the people live in excruciating poverty without potable water, electricity, healthcare facilities, higher institutions, and good roads and housing.

He lamented that the communities lack industries and human capital empowerment, warning that the militants were ready to resume their violent agitations.

“But we have strongly resolved that we will soon resume fresh hostilities in the creeks in retaliation for our anger and furious protest as we advise President Buhari to henceforth stop the payment of this money to the South-South governors and channel the 13 percent derivation funds to the oil-producing communities; that is the only way out for the interest of peace in the region,” he said.


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