Joe Effiong, Uyo
A militant group, Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF) and the Akwa Ibom State Government have exchanged words over the management of 13% derivation funds as it affects development in the 31 local government areas of the State.
While the militants have challenged the State Government to point to projects executed in the 31 local government councils to justify federal allocations to them, the State Government has rather washed its hands off the councils’ affairs pleading lack of jurisdiction.
The NDLF had on Tuesday issued a statement alleging that Akwa Ibom under Governor Udom Emmanuel received over N200billion between 2017 and September 2020 for the 31 local government areas of the State, as well as collected close to N400 billion from the 13% oil derivation fund.
The statement signed by State Commander of NDLF, Captain Victor Eyoh, and five others lamented that local government councils in the State could not embark on key projects because they are starved of funds by the State Government.
‘The statement says; ”As a group fighting for justice and equity in the State, we are demanding for transparency and good governance; thus we are neither members of the opposition or its mouthpiece as alleged by the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy.
”Since the State Government claims it has not been tampering with local government funds, we hereby challenge it to publish bank details of all the disbursements to each of the local government councils within the period under review.
”We also challenge the government to publish the list of projects undertaken by any of the Local Government councils and also make public any development project it has undertaken and commissioned in the oil-producing communities utilizing the 13% oil derivation fund’.”
But the State Government through the commissioner for information and strategy, Mr Iniobong Ememobong has asked the group to channel their request details of local government expenditure to the various council authorities.
Ememobong advised the militant group to concentrate on grave matters affecting the Niger Delta region rather than dissipate energy and time on issues that are not within the purview of the State Government.
”They should ask the details of expenditure from the different LGAs. They should also differentiate the percentage of that amount went to the payment of salaries and other obligatory financial engagements.
”The State cannot be made to answer for the LGs, just as the FG doesn’t answer for the State. Please ask this militant group whether they don’t travel along Calabar-Itu road?
”Please when will they ask the FG about Issues affecting the Niger Delta like the East-West road, maritime university Oron, resource control, deep sea port, Calabar/Itu road etc,” he said.