The association of oil and gas communities in Delta State on Thursday urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abuja, to probe former Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, over alleged diversion of N1.07 trillion from the 13 percent oil derivation fund.
The request came after they stormed the headquarters of the EFCC Abuja,
The association which is made up of representatives of Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko and Ndokwa ethnic groups, frowned at the non-full remittance of 50 percent legally prescribed allocation to Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) during Okowa’s administration (2015 to 2023).
Addressing newsmen after submitting the association’s petition to EFCC, representative of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, Chief (Comrade) Mulade Sheriff, asked the anti-graft agency not to leave any stone unturned in ensuring the alleged diverted money is fully recovered.
The petition reads in part: “We are leaders and representatives of oil and gas producing Communities of Delta State. We wish to draw the attention of the general public, particularly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to the illegal diversion of our entitlement from the 13% derivation funds.
“We are indigenes and members of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities in Delta State and it’s on this strength we are drawing the attention of your office to the flagrant and deliberate abuse of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and section 13 (1) of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015 and 2018 established to cater for the wellbeing of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities in Delta State,
“It is imperative to state that the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015 and 2018 respectively was established to expressly execute a clear mandate as stated in Section 13(1) of the DESOPADEC Law which provides thus:
“‘The commission shall receive and administer exclusively 50% of the Oil Derivation fund accruing to the Delta State Government for; a) The rehabilitation of the oil producing communities/areas of the state.’
”Other development projects as may be determined from time to time. We have observed curiously in 2022/2023 that the DESOPADEC has become moribund, and the Oil Producing Areas/Communities are nose-diving into abject poverty, which is inciting and causing youths restiveness and agitation in their various communities.
“From the records available to us upon an application to the Office of the Accountant- General of the Federation for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account to the Delta State Government between 2015-2022, the sum of N1,077,450,285,552.17 has been disbursed to the Delta State Government from July 2015 to December 2022, for the Rehabilitation and Development of the oil Producing Communities/Areas in Delta State.
“In fact what Okowa received is far more than N1,077,450,285,552.17 if the 13% monthly allocations of January 2023 to May 2023 are added. See attached CTC.”
The association also expressed serious concern over the alleged brazen manner funds meant for oil and gas producing communities were channelled to other purposes in violation of DESOPADEC law.
”By section 13(1) of the DESOPADEC Law 2006 (as amended) 2007, 2015 and 2018, the commission is legally and lawfully entitled to 50% from the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account which is calculated at N538,725,142,776.85 (Five Hundred and Thirty-Eight Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Five Million, One Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Eighty-five Kobo) from the Delta State Government.
“That from the information obtained, it is obvious that the Delta Government grossly underfunded the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission as it was in the habit of consistently and deliberately disbursing less than the sum of N20,000,000,000 (Twenty Billion Naira) only annually for the past Eight Years….
“Sir, unfortunately all efforts by our communities’ leaders and other well-meaning personalities in Delta State to have the Delta State Government to obey, observe and comply with the DESOPADEC law and render account for the said misappropriated fund have proved abortive hence this petition.
“It is very nauseating that despite the stupendous Billions of Naira being paid to the Delta State Government from the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account, The Oil Producing Areas/Communities continue to wallow in abject poverty with no commensurate social amenities and infrastructures in place.
“This gross and reckless misappropriation of the 13% oil derivation fund meant for the Oil Producing Communities largely account for the incessant restiveness and agitations in the Niger Delta Region.
“We are strongly appealing to the Commission saddled with the responsibility to probe and Investigate the immediate-past Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, to recover and return our money of the 50% of the 13% Oil derivation fund from the Federation Account to the State Government and render necessary Account for the said illegally and unlawfully misappropriated balance to DESOPADEC coffers, to enable them develop our communities, ” the petition read.
Recall that the petition which was received by EFCC was signed by Mulade Sheriff (Ijaw Ethnic Nationality), Sir Mathew Itsekure (Itsekiri Ethnic Nationality), Mrs Patience Ego Afujue (Ndokwa Ethnic Nationality), Hon Mark Ikpuri, (Urhobo Ethnic Nationality) and Chief John Etenero (Isoko Ethnic Nationality).
Atiku’s aide dares Tinubu’s Government to make public details of petrol landing cost
***Demands pricing template also
The All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has been challenged to publish the landing cost of petrol as well as the pricing template being used by the government to keep the cost of petrol at less than N640 per litre.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu gave the charge in a statement while reacting to a press release by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka.
Shaibu indicated that the government’s claim that the petroleum sector had been deregulated was a fat lie and that subsidy was still being paid.
He added, “The Petroleum Industry Act mandates the total deregulation of the petroleum sector. A deregulated regime has no room for price control. If the APC is saying subsidy is not back, they should explain how petrol is still being sold at less than N650 per litre when the international price of crude oil is about $94 per barrel and the exchange rate on the I&E Window is N780/$1 and N1,000/$1 on the parallel market.
“How is it that diesel which has been deregulated currently costs about N1,000 per litre while petrol is over 25% less? Let the APC explain and stop peddling lies.”
Shaibu said the APC-led government had continually admitted failure by going ahead to sack and detain some of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointees.
He said, “The same APC that praised Godwin Emefiele for eight years and deceived Nigerians with propaganda and their so-called agricultural revolution have gone ahead to sack the same Emefiele and detain him for four months.
“The same APC that claimed to have fought corruption have now gone ahead to detain the man in charge of the anti-corruption war, Abdulrasheed Bawa, for four months. You can see that these people are nothing but barefaced liars and deceivers.
“Tinubu claimed he wanted to cut the cost of governance and yet appointed 48 ministers out of which 10 are from his region. Yet the APC claims he is running a fair administration. This is laughable. Adams Oshiomhole even said last month that Tinubu inherited a bad situation. How can a maggot criticise the fly that gave birth to it?”
Atiku’s aide asked the APC to do more on governance rather than propaganda, adding that the patience of Nigerians was already running out.
“Wale Edun said recently that the last time Nigeria’s economy did well was 10 years ago. That is an admission of the failure that the APC represents. Under the watch of that blood-sucking party, poverty has reached unimaginable heights. Nigeria has even lost its crown as the largest producer of oil in Africa. What a shame,” Shaibu said.
He said Tinubu ought to apologise to Nigerians for lying about a proposed meeting with United States President Joe Biden instead of trying to offer lame excuses.
“So, a three-minute ‘meet and greet’ on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India is what the APC is now describing as a ‘meeting of Biden and Tinubu’? This is indeed shameful. The statement from the Presidency said the meeting would take place on the sidelines of UNGA in New York.
“It is obvious the so-called meeting only existed in the minds of Tinubu and his paid writers. He left UNGA empty-handed and travelled to Paris without even informing Nigerians of his whereabouts. What a joke.”
PIA: NUPRC threatens to revoke operating licenses of defaulting OICs
***Issues ultimatum on 3% remittance to oil communities
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has issued an ultimatum to settlors who have defaulted in remitting the 3% operating cost to oil bearing communities as stipulated by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA)
Section 257 ( 2) of the Petroleum Industry Act, which came into effect in August 2021, stipulates that Oil and Gas Companies should remit 3% of their annual operational expenditure to affected host communities.
The commission was reacting to the recent agitation by host communities in the oil and gas producing areas of the Niger Delta region over the delay by industry settlors/operators in remitting the statutory fees governed by Section 235 of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021.
The leadership of the host communities producing oil and gas had moved against the deliberate violation of the Act by oil companies operating in their area who have refused to remmit the 3% operating cost as stipulated by the act.
They said two years after the provision of the law, none of the Oil Producing Companies had complied with it , prompting stakeholders from the affected host communities to cry out in Abuja on Wednesday.
National President of HOSTCOM, Dr. Benjamin Tamaranebi, at a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, had expressed dismay that the oil companies have refused to remit the 3% to HOSTCOM two years after the passage of the PIA.
The commission in a swift reaction through a statement issued on Friday, threatened to revoke the licenses of oil operators or settlors who failed to remit the three 3% statutory fees to oil communities before September ending.
It called on the operators to fulfill their obligations of the 3% remittance to the oil bearing communities without further delay
“Clearly, the Commission understands and shares in the sentiments and particularly the patience of the host communities on this issue, especially as the PIA had suspended the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), replacing both provisions with a new Host Community Development Trust Fund.
“The Commission is fully aware of the implications of this development if allowed to fester. The agitation might frustrate the Commission’s efforts at up-scaling the drive for higher foreign exchange and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. “Incidentally and quite unfortunately, it is also capable of truncating efforts at stabilizing the value of the Naira, attaining the much-desired rebound in our national economy and improving our macro-economic status.
“The statutory provision of the PIA regarding the annual contribution of operators in the industry, under Section 240 (2) of the PIA, 2021, is very clear, and it states:
“Each settlor, where applicable through the operator, shall make an annual contribution to the applicable host communities development trust fund of an amount equal to 3% of its actual annual operating expenditure of the preceding financial year in the upstream petroleum operations affecting the host communities for which the applicable host communities development trust fund was established”.
“It must be stated that given the implications of allowing continued default on sustained peaceful operations and the eventual effect on national oil and gas output, the Commission will be minded to activate its regulatory powers in line with the provisions of the Act as stated above, to bring defaulting and recalcitrant settlors into compliance.
“Recently, the Commission passed the Host Community Regulation and organized a mass sensitization program, emphasizing the responsibility of settlors in host communities under the PIA, 2021.
“Unfortunately, those concerned have neglected this, thereby stoking avoidable agitations. The settlors are, therefore, required to perform their obligation to commence remittance of the statutory 3% contribution.
“The Commission notes that remittance of the statutory contribution, which should have served as succor to the host communities, has sadly become a source of pain to the lawful beneficiaries.
“This has now given impetus to actions that might affect smooth upstream operations within affected host communities, a situation that could have been addressed through routine social inclusion.
“Although the ultimate regulatory sanction, as enshrined in Section 238 of the PIA, is the revocation of assets, the Commission has been careful not to compound the already low level of investment and divestment rate and further impact negatively on production levels and the Federation revenue. Rather, it chose to draw a balance and be strategic in implementing the provisions of the law.
“The relevant section states that “Unless as otherwise provided for in this Act, failure by any holder of a licence or lease governed by this Act to comply with its obligations under this Chapter, after having been informed of such failure in writing by the Commission or Authority as the case may be, may be grounds for revocation of the applicable licence.”
“Therefore, defaulting operators (settlors) under PIA 2021 (section 235) are advised to do the needful by fulfilling their obligations and remitting the outstanding arrears without further delay, as the Commission might be compelled by emerging circumstances to fully apply the law under section 235 of PIA 2021, which states as follows: Failure to incorporate host communities’ development trust:
“unless as otherwise provided for in this Act, failure by any holder of a licence or lease governed by this Act, failure by any holder of a licence or lease governed by this Act to comply with its obligations under this chapter, after having been informed of such failure in writing by the Commission or Authority as the case may be, may be grounds for revocation of the applicable licence or lease.
“Notice is hereby served that in a situation where defaults are not remedied by the end of September 2023, the Commission would have no option but to revoke the license of the defaulting settlor/operator.”
Amb. Igali tasks FG on exploration of gas reserve for Electricity Power generation
***Eulogises Engr Joseph Makoju
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
Pro-Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Akure Amb. (Dr) Godknows Boladei Igali, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to critically look into developing the nation’s gas sector to generate and export electricity.
Igali made the call while delivering a Lecture titled: “The Apogee Of National Service And Vision For The Nigerian Power Sector: Reflections On The Life And Times Of Engr. (Dr.) Joseph Oyeyani Makoju” at the Federal University, Lokoja.
The first Lecture in memory of Engr Joseph Makoju was organised by FUL in partnership with the Joseph Makoju Foundation for Development, Leadership and Technology as part of efforts to contribute to solving leadership development and power problem in Nigeria.
Igali said that gas as at today, remained the most cost-effective fuel for electricity power generation “We can harness our gas properly and build turbines and allow proper electricity transmission network.
“The expectation of Makoju was that on medium-term basis Nigeria could become the net exporter of electricity with improvement made on developing its gas to power assets.
“At present Nigeria has over 600 trillion standard cubic feet of gas and therefore could flood the entire sub-region and the whole of Africa with electric power if there is consistent development.
He said that the late Makoju as a visionary saw into the future and he set to develop the sector saying, “We have to wake up from our slumber and begin to develop our gas to power assets.”
The Ambassador held that with proper utilisation of the nation’s gas reserve, Nigeria would be able to build infrastructures all over Africa and begin to export power to other African nations like Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Central African Republic among others.
Igali said that developing the Power Sector was critical to economic development of Nigeria and urged the Federal Government to provide a robust policy guidance and supervision in the sector without interference in its day-to-day running.
He said insufficient power was causing a gross economic loss of about $26 billion (over N10 trillion) every year in Nigeria.
“Not only that, Government must revive the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP) as problem-solving and decision-making platform for the sector”, he said.
The Guest Lecturer held that former President Olusegun Obasanjo against this backdrop, pursued power generation and played supervisory role over private sector dynamism and raising power generation from 1.5 megawatts to 4.8 megawatts.
Eulogizing late Engr (Dr) Joseph Oyeyani Makoju, Igali described late Super Executive of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as a citizen who was prepared for service to the nation.
He said that Makoju had the foundation of humanity ingrained in him adding that he saw humanity beyond religion and faith and that disposition formed the basis of his virtues.
He said that Makoju persevered and endured, powered by tenacity arising from his cultural and philosophical environment and scholarship to become a task driver who prepared the power sector for privatization with unbundling of the sector. (Ends)
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