Gov. Diri flays FG over illegal deductions from Bayelsa revenue

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Tuesday flayed the deduction of the state’s revenue by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in favour of Rivers State following a high court ruling.

Diri said the hurried implementation of the ruling was unacceptable and subjudice as the state’s appeal was pending at the Supreme Court.

He also said it was tantamount to ceding of Bayelsa territory indirectly to Rivers.

The Bayelsa governor expressed his dissatisfaction when RMAFC Federal Commissioners representing the South-South region paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

Diri in a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, called on the commission to revisit its decision until the apex court gave a final verdict on the boundary dispute between both states.

He lamented that the action had significantly affected the state’s allocation for the month of September.

His words: “The action by the commission is tantamount to ceding a part of Bayelsa State to Rivers State, which can breach the peace between both sister states.

“I will still appeal to your Chairman and members of your commission to revisit this deduction from the monthly allocation of Bayelsa. I have in this regard written letters to the President, the Vice President, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Accountant General. I will follow it up by visiting their offices.

“We want to explore a peaceful method. But what the commission has done can degenerate the peace that we are having between these sister states. I don’t think that my people from Oluasiri in Nembe and all of us from Bayelsa will accept ceding any parts of our territories to anybody.

“So, what your commission has done is indirectly ceding our territories to Rivers state and that is totally unacceptable to us as a people and a state.”

Diri, while commending the Federal Commissioners from the South South in the commission for their peace moves, said they can do more in spearheading the upward review of the 13 per cent derivation accruing to the oil producing states.

“May I also seize this opportunity to call on you, our worthy representatives, to look at the issue of reviewing the 13 per cent minimum derivation that is being given to oil producing states.

“I know it is not all within your powers. It is something that may come from the National Assembly but as our worthy representatives, that can start with you and we can be part of it by calling on our representatives in the National Assembly to look at a review of the principle of derivation, which has been pegged at 13 per cent till date,” he said.

Diri also called on other governors of the South-South to exercise restraint in dealing with issues of boundary adjustment in the region, noting that there is a deliberate policy of divide and rule to further exploit the resources of the Niger Delta.

Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation and representative of Akwa Ibom State in the commission, Mr. Sunday Anyang, said as ambassadors of the region, they have a common goal to protect the interest of the people they represent from external influence.

Anyang said there is the need to review the indices that make up the 13 per cent derivation to oil producing states and that it behoves on key actors from the region to synergise for an upward review of derivation formula.

Also on the visit were the Federal Commissioners representing Delta, Andrew Agbaga, Alfred Egba (Bayelsa) and Victor Eboigbe (Edo).

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