Managing Director, NDDC, Dr. Christian Oboh
A former Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Pastor Power Aginigan, has advised the National Assembly to remove the control of the 13 per cent derivation funds from the governors in the Niger Delta region.
Aginighan explained that this was necessary in order to enable oil producing communities in the region to enjoy from the proceeds of the natural resources in their area.
The ex-NDDC executive director gave this advice on Saturday while making his presentation at the public hearing on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
Aginighan observed that most governors of the oil producing states had failed to recognise the oil producing communities in their disbursement of the 13 per cent derivation funds.
He said, a large part of the funds was used by some of the governors to develop areas that did not produce crude oil.
He explained that most of the areas enjoying from the derivation funds were not experiencing any form of environmental degradation.
Aginighan noted that the development was already causing agitation in the affected communities as indigenes had begun to cry foul.
“The oil mineral and gas bearing communities have been at the mercy of powerful State Governors, most of whom utilize the larger portion of derivation funds for areas that do not suffer environmental devastation arising from oil exploration and exploitation activities.
“The danger in the present arrangement is that oil mineral bearing communities are alienated from the benefits of the wealth that accrues from their land.
“This in turn keeps the national economy in potential danger as the aggrieved host communities can vent their frustration on the oil producing companies and facilities.
He urged the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution to encourage the payment of 13 per cent derivation funds into a trust fund that would be managed by a board.
Aginighan suggested that members of such board should be drawn from the oil producing communities, adding that appointment to the board should be done by the country’s President.
The former NDDC director also suggested that the Electoral Act should be amended in order to strengthen the country’s democratic system.