From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has called on the federal government to immediately pay the $951 million awarded to Bayelsa State by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The council explained that the court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo on Monday, ordered the federal government to pay $951 million being arrears due on 13 per cent derivation to Bayelsa State.
The IYC President, Peter Igbifa, in a statement in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, hailed the judgement and asked the federal government to activate the process of remitting the money to Bayelsa.
Igbifa further asked the federal government not to appeal the judgement, describing the facts contained in the case filed by Bayelsa as evidence of an entrenched injustice in the distribution of revenue between the centre and the Niger Delta states.
Igbifa said Bayelsa and the entire Niger Delta had remained a “poster boy” of all the degradation, environmental pollution and health hazards associated with oil exploration and exploitation.
He said despite the outcries that 13 per cent was barely enough to cater for the developmental challenges caused by the activities of oil companies in the region, the calculations and payments of the existing percentage derivation had been deliberately and erroneously skewed to favour the centre.
Igbifa said the existing injustice and inequity, which had notoriously defined the Nigerian state, remained the principal reason for ongoing agitations for restructuring and resource control.
‘The council, after studying the judgement and the facts of the case filed by Bayelsa State, is calling on the federal government to immediately activate the process of transferring the funds to the coffers of Bayelsa,’ he said.
‘The council believes that the federal government should not think of appealing this judgement. It is a step in redeeming and addressing the injustice and the imbalance in revenue sharing between the Niger Delta region, which is the mainstay of the country’s economy, and the federal government.
‘This is the reason we will not stop agitating for guaranteed resource control as Niger Delta states will not continue to labour in vain.’