The government of Bayelsa State has called on the Federal Government to deduct and send to the oil-producing states, the 13 per cent derivation component of the $1 billion Excess Crude Account (ECA) money it wants to withdraw to tackle insecurity in the country.
Bayelsa governor, Seriake Dickson, who made the demand in a statement at the weekend said that while the state was not opposed to the plan to withdraw the ECA fund to fight insecurity in the country, that it would however have no option than drag the Federal Government to court, should it fail to deduct the 13 per cent derivation component of the money and deploy same to the oil producing states.
According to him, the oil producing states need the 13 per cent derivation component of the fund to address the peculiar security challenges in Niger Delta region.
The state government’s position on the ECA funds was in response to the recent report that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that the money, when released, should be used for security purposes.
Already, Bayelsa government has made its position known to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is also the chairman of the National Economic Council.
The statement on the issue was released by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson. It argued that withdrawing the $1 billion without deducting and paying the 13 per cent derivation to the oil-producing states would mean ‘arm-twisting’ the oil states to make double contributions to the security funds.
“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,” the statement read in part.