The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has requested the federal government to exclude the 13 per cent derivation funds accruable to oil producing states from the $1 billion to be deducted from the Excess Crude Account for national security.
The governor demanded that the 13 per cent derivation component of the $1 billion be deducted and sent to the various oil producing states to prevent subjecting them from making double contributions to the security funds.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, on Wednesday, Mr. Dickson posited that the implication of the withdrawal inclusive of the 13 per cent, was that the oil producing states would be making double contributions to the security funds.
He stressed that the oil producing states would be contributing not only their statutory allocations like other states, but also their 13 per cent derivation fund constitutionally designed to address special circumstances including security, occasioned by the hazards of oil production.
The governor stated further that he had discussed the issue with both the Vice President who is Chairman of the National Economic Council and the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
Mr. Dickson noted that while Bayelsa was not against the withdrawal of the funds to enhance national security, the utilisation of the funds should benefit the entire security agency and service and cover every part of the country.
The governor said, “Our position generally has been that leaders should collaborate on issues of national security and the economy. On these matters, there should be no partisanship or showmanship because these issues touch on the core of our nation and the individual wellbeing of everybody.
“Secondly, as it has been done before, Bayelsa has no opposition to the withdrawal of money for national security expenditure targeted at improving the capacity of our military and security agencies to protect the territorial integrity of the country and all Nigerians.
“Our position is that the 13 per cent derivation element be deducted and sent to the states. Not do do so means that the oil producing states would be contributing from both ends: we will be contributing our statutory allocations like every other state, and then the 13 per cent derivation which is meant to address special circumstances as oil producing states, including security challenges.
The Bayelsa Governor further demanded that a committee of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum be set up to interface with the Chairman of the National Economic Council and leadership of the national security agencies to receive briefings on the details of items to be procured.
According to him, it is necessary for the committee to be briefed on the modalities of procurement to allay concerns already expressed by a cross segment of the populace.
Mr. Dickson said that Bayelsa like other states, would be interested in knowing what component of these security procurements would directly benefit the security architecture in Bayelsa.
“That a committee of the Governors’ Forum be set up forthwith to liaise with the Vice President as Chairman of the National Economic Council, and heads of the national security agencies to receive briefings on details of the proposed procurements in order to allay the concerns being expressed segments of our population. We would like to know specifically what aspects of these investments are coming to Bayelsa,’’ he added.