By Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State, has asked the federal government to deduct the 13 percent derivation from the $1 billion Excess Crude Account (ECA) funds to be withdrawn for national security and send to the various oil producing states.
Dickson who spoke in a statement issued by Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, said that the implication of the withdrawal inclusive of the 13 percent, was that the oil producing states would be making double contributions to the security funds.
He insisted that releasing the 13 percent derivation from the fund to the oil producing states would prevent subjecting them to making double contributions to the security funds.
He said it is necessary for the committee to be briefed on the modalities of the procurement to allay concerns already expressed by a cross segment of the populace.
Dickson said that Bayelsa like other states, would be interested in knowing what component of these security procurement would directly benefit the security architecture in Bayelsa.
He emphasised that the oil producing states would be contributing not only their statutory allocations like other states, but also their 13 percent derivation fund constitutionally designed to address special circumstances including security, occasioned by the hazards of oil production.
“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 procurement in order to allay the concerns being expressed by various segments of our population. We would like to know specifically what aspects of these investments are coming to Bayelsa,’’ he added.
Dickson noted that while he was not against the withdrawal of the funds to enhance national security, the utilisation of the funds involving the armed forces, intelligence services and police must cover every part of the country.
He stated: “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 welbeing 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 percent derivation element be deducted and sent to the states. Not to 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 percent derivation which is meant to address special circumstances as oil producing states, including security challenges,” he stressed.