The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency review the 13 percent derivation fund given to host communities. The governor who made this known in a media parley, stated that oil communities are been exploited and their proceeds expropriated, thereby leaving the states in a mess.
He stated that: “Everybody believes that Bayelsa is a rich state and truly I don’t blame their thought because our country runs on oil and its reservoirs are in the state, so we are like people inside the river. It feels like taking our bath in the river and then soap is entering into our eyes and we are looking for water in the bucket to wash off the soap from our eyes. “Rather than utilizing our resources for us, 100 are taken and 13 percent given to us. I will urge other governors that we should look at it. The constitution says minimum and part of my fight in the senate is to present my Bill of this 13 percent, which we have been running till today. “So, why have we not reviewed the 13 percent as that of the minimum wage, which is long overdue for review? Before now, it was 100 percent, later moved to 50 percent until it came down to 13 percent. We are not as rich as people think we are. We are rich in mineral resources, we are rich even in human capacity, but our resources have been expropriated. “Lagos is benefiting from taxes from oil companies and Bayelsa is not because their headquarters are located in Lagos. Taxes are supposed to be paid to us. I know the Land Use Tax law, and it states that the surface belongs to you, but anything deep down belongs to GOD.
When you look at the federal system of government, the civil servants and other parastatals have to be paid and when that is deducted from what we received from the federal, we are short. Don’t be surprised when you hear in the media that we took a loan, as we must work that is why we are elected. “If our situation does not improve, it will be very difficult. You see, its time for us to review the 13 percent allocation because what we have is not enough for us to do anything and we need the federal government’s cooperation for true federal setup. “Bayelsa is trying to make ends meet like most states that are not even oil-producing. Our internal revenue generation is one of the least because as I said, all of these oil companies do not pay tax in Bayelsa. “The former governor tried to do something as there are some of those matters that are in court. I intend to meet with the oil companies to work out practical modalities that would ensure taxes are paid to Bayelsa. If such can be agreed upon as they pay in other places, then we will be ready to withdraw the matter from the court so that we can have internally generated revenue.” Meanwhile, oil-producing, host communities to Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, SPDC in Burutu LGA demand oil companies to discontinue the release of toxic waste into its waterways and farmlands A group of oil-producing communities and host to SPDC in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, have written to the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, National Environment Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to come to their aid and compel SPDC to discontinue the deliberate releasing of toxic waste into the sea, waters, rivers and creeks in the area as it poses a threat to human lives and killing of aquatic animals. The host communities includes; Osiagbene, Ipinwe, Kantele, Gbolukaka, Bikei, Sokuyor, Aghoro Zion, Egranbene, Tamu-Egranbene, Abonpere and Oyins communities in the LGA. The communities through its solicitor in the letter said that SPDC since mid-February has been releasing the substance. “As a result of this, economic activities such as fishing and farming have since been paralyzed, also, it has led to the loss of aquatic animals and the destruction of crops in the area.” According to the communities, they have engaged themselves with every available means to persuade SPDC to discontinue the release and pollution of its waterways but to no avail. “Therefore, we are calling on NESREA, Delta State Government, the ministry of environment and relevant agencies to constitute a team to take a visit to the communities and also constitute a team to carry out the post-pollution impact assessment and damage assessment respectively which is in line with the extant provisions of the relevant environmental laws and regulations in Nigeria.” The communities also appealed to NESREA to compel SPDC as a matter of urgency to provide them with relief materials in other ameliorate the suffering and hardship as a result of negligence and recklessness of the company.