Bayelsa govt threatens to sue FG over $1bn Boko Haram fund

The Bayelsa State Government has threatened to sue the Federal Government if it refuses to deduct the 13 per cent derivation component of the $1bn Excess Crude Account Funds it plans to withdraw to tackle insecurity in the country.

Governor Seriake Dickson demanded that the 13 per cent derivation component of the funds be deducted and deployed in the oil-producing states to address the peculiar security challenges in the region.

The Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government had said the $1bn ECA fund would be used for security purposes.

Already, the state government has formally presented its position to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who is also the Chairman of the National Economic Council.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said in a statement on Sunday that the state government was insisting that the 13 per cent derivation component of the money be deducted and sent to the various oil-producing states in the federation as earlier demanded.

Iworiso-Markson quoted Dickson of saying that withdrawing $1bn without deducting and paying the 13 per cent derivation to the oil-producing states would amount to ‘arm-twisting’ them to make double contributions to the security funds.

The governor was further quoted as saying that wholesome withdrawal of the funds, inclusive of the 13 per cent derivation, would mean that the oil-producing states would be making double contributions.

Dickson had earlier called the attention of Osinbajo to the position of the state government on the proposed withdrawal of the ECA funds last December.

The governor had maintained that while Bayelsa was not opposed to 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 said, “The Bayelsa State Government will approach the court to enforce deduction of the 13 per cent derivation component from the $1bn ECA funds which the Federal Government claims it plans to withdraw to tackle insecurity.

“Our position remains the same: while the state government is not opposing the planned withdrawal of the funds for security and indeed the general well-being of the society, it would be unfair and unjust to pull out the funds without releasing the 13 per cent to the oil- producing states.’’

Meanwhile, the state government has decried the selling of positions for N250,000 and other employment racketeering by some officials it described as unscrupulous working in the local government areas and parastatals in the state.

It also said its decision to redeploy personnel in the public service identified to be redundant by their supervisors to other agencies was in their interest and that of the public.

Iworiso-Markson made the disclosure in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Friday, during an interactive session with select journalists.

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