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$1b security fund: Bayelsa govt threatens court action against FG

Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State Government has threatened to sue the Federal Government if it fails to deduct the 13 per cent derivation component of the $1 it plans to withdraw from Excess Crude Account (ECA) to tackle insecurity in the country (ECA).

The state Governor, Seriake Dickson, had recently demanded that the 13 per cent derivation component of the fund be deducted from the fund before disbursing it.

The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who explained the state government’s position in a statement, yesterday, explained that the 13 percent derivation component of the money should be deducted and sent to the various oil producing states in the federation or else the state would approach the court to enforce the deduction.      Iworiso-Markson quoted Dickson as saying that withdrawing the $1 billion 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 fund.  According to him, “the Bayelsa State Government will approach the court to enforce deduction of the 13 per cent derivation component from the $1 billion ECA funds which the Federal Government claims it plans to withdraw to tackle insecurity.”

The statement added: “We have held meetings with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on this issue. We even backed it up with a formal letter to the President through the Vice President, which was taken to Abuja by the Deputy Governor and delivered by hand to the Vice President to underscore the importance we attach to the issue in question.

“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.

An arrangement that compels a group of states to contribute twice to the fund while their counterparts contribute only part of their statutory allocation cannot be said to be just. The constitution is clear on this and we shall approach the court to advocate our position.”

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