Nov. 6 (PREMIUM TIMES) – The Bayelsa State Government on Tuesday dismissed Rivers State Government’s claim that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMFAC, wrongly paid N17 billion from the escrow account to it.
The Governor of the State, Seriake Dickson, who made the denial in Yenagoa at the inauguration of a14-man state Boundaries’ Committee, said there is no iota of truth in the claim.
Mr. Dickson said that at no point in time did RMFAC wrongly pay any amount from escrow account to Bayelsa Government.
He also called on the law abiding people of the affected Nembe and Kalabari kingdoms not to allow the unity of the Ijaw nation to be affected by the antics of the people who want to play politics over the disputed oil wells.
He said the wrong payment was a deliberate falsehood put out there to create an impression of bias on the part of a hardworking, impartial federal agency that is doing their work.
“The truth, however, is this: last year, the government of Bayelsa made some claims against Rivers on the account of revenue collection due Bayelsa in respect of some disputed wells.
“The Government of Rivers and its officials duly defended this claim and at the end of it, there was a reconciliation of figures,’’ he said.
Mr. Dickson said at the end of the reconciliation, it was agreed by all parties, including officials of the Rivers Government, that Rivers had wrongly collected N17 billion that was due to Bayelsa.
“An agreement was reached by all parties, including the representatives of the government of Rivers for a refund to be made. Government of Rivers also made a counter-claim of wrongful payment of some other wells in its territory to Bayelsa and other neighbouring states.
“The appropriate federal agencies looked at this claims, heard from all the parties and found out that Rivers Government was entitled to refund of close to N15 billion and N16 billion.
“The government of Bayelsa was made to pay about N2 billion as refund to Rivers based on that consensual understanding,” he said.
Mr. Dickson described as mischievous the allegation that N17 billion was ever kept in an escrow account and that a federal agency paid it out to Bayelsa during the pendency of litigation.
The governor also commended the chiefs and people of Oluasiri and the Nembe Kingdoms in general for not taking to the streets on the issue.
He urged them to continue to maintain law and order.