By Christopher Tom, Uyo
A militant group under aegis of Niger Delta Liberation Force(NDLF) has asked Governor Udom Emmanuel to desist from tampering with funds allocation to the 31 local governments areas of Akwa Ibom state.
It also advised the governor to steer clear from the management of the 13% Oil Derivation Fund, and requested for establishment of Akwa Ibom State Oil Producing Development Commission to manage the fund.
They warned paramount rulers and other categories of traditional rulers not to dabble into matters relating to oil companies and compensation to host communities in the state.
The Akwa Ibom State Leader of the NDLF, Victor Eyoh in a statement issued to newsmen in Uyo, said the demands of the group were in the best interest of the state.
The statement reads in part, ‘We hereby demand that Mr. Udom Emmanuel should account for all the funds he has received so far particularly those meant for the development of the 31 local government areas and also refund same to the respective local government areas without further delay.
”Furthermore, Governor Udom Emmanuel should hands off forthwith the confiscation LG funds for whatever reasons. Such funds from the Federation Account should not be tampered with, rather all the 31 LGAs should be allowed be allowed to receive and utilize same for the development of their councils.
”We hereby also demand that the state government should set up, as a matter of urgency, the Akwa Ibom State Oil Producing Development Commission to manage the 13% Oil Derivation Funds as done in other States of the Niger Delta to ensure the adequate development of the oil producing areas which have been subjected to untold hardships, loss of means of livelihood, environmental hazards, poverty and marginalization these past years”.
While sympathising with victims of the EndSARS protest who lost their lives and property, the NDLF urged the government to accede to all the demands of the youths for peace and unity to reign in the country.
But the state government through the commissioner for information and strategy, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong said the governor has never interfered with local government funds.
Ememobong said the 13% oil derivation fund is part of the funds which accrues to oil producing states which is constitutionally managed by state governors.
He urged the NDLF to rather press for resource control, including solid minerals.
”The Governor does not interfere with Local government funds. The chairmen handle their funds in the way the think best for the smooth running of their local governments specifically and the state in general.
”The derivation fund is a part of resources accruing to the state which is managed by the Governor for the benefit of the state.
”The militant group should rather be asking for the full control of the resources to the region producing, like other minerals in the country”, he said.