$1.1billion Derivation Release: Gov Emmanuel  Under Fire From Akwa Ibomites

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel is currently under fire by the people of the state demanding that the state government should account for the $1.1 billion (N600 billion) said to have been received as arrears of the 13 per cent derivation fund from the Federal Government.

This came on the heels of recent revelations over the weekend by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, that President Buhari  released the arrears of the derivation fund owed since 1999 to the six Niger Delta states, including Akwa Ibom. 

Since the revelation was made, Akwa Ibom people have expressed shock that such huge income has been received by the state government besides the monthly federal allocation and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) without their knowledge, and are demanding explanation of how the years of the derivation fund arrears received was expended.

Reacting to Wike’s revelation, Akwa Ibom Young Progressives Party (YPP) governorship candidate, Senator Bassey Akpan who is also the member representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District in the Senate, said the state’s share of the refunded derivation fund was $1.1billion.

Akpan, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), however stated that Akwa Ibom is in a deplorable condition despite the huge financial inflow, and called on the people to ask the government what it has been doing with the money. 

“When I said he (Udom) received N280 billion, they said it was politics. They said I was interested in finance, yes I will need Akwa Ibom money to empower the people of Akwa Ibom State as the next governor. Thank God for Governor Nyesom Wike.

“All the funds that were not paid to South South states from oil proceeds put together was $2.56 billion. The one paid to Akwa Ibom was $1.1 billion (N600 billion). Udom has received over N3 trillion. But there is nothing to show for it,” he stated. 

Reacting to the issue, National Coordinator of Akwa Ibom Human Rights Community, Clifford Thomas Esq. said there was no justifiable reason why Governor Udom Emmanuel never mentioned to Akwa Ibom citizens the amount he legitimately collected on behalf of the state as arrears of the derivation fund.

“Is just a matter of showing us how much you have collected. For the fact that you did not disclose it to us means that you had the intention to steal.

“Proper disclosure presupposes that you are transparent and accountable to the people. Where a government is not accountable and transparent to the people, it thereafter means that there’s no probity in your council and it is against human rights.

“Again, I know that the propriety of coming to disclose at this critical time is challenging but the fact remains that it was disclosed from credible sources that over $1.1billion was given to Akwa Ibom State as arrears of 13 per cent derivations from 1999 till now, then what is the propriety of hidding money that came to you legitimately,” Thomas queried.

Also commenting on the fund received, Professor of Economics, University of Uyo, Prof. Edet Akpakpan, said it was expedient for the people to demand from the government what the money received was used for, saying the question was a legitimate one to ascertain if the funds were judiciously used. 

“I have heard the information that Governor Wike has given the whole world, what we in this part of the country should do is to ask our governments, if they received that kind of money, what exactly do they do with the money? I think this is a legitimate question to ask.

“I will not from my library conclude that nothing has been done. I have heard that they have done a number of things in some local government for instance, Onna, but we need to be concrete.

“Governor Wike has commissioned 9 or 10 flyovers and these are fantastic things, when we talk of infrastructure, that is what it should be. I have seen a tower here in Uyo, I don’t know what the building will serve. 

“I have not asked questions; any time I decide to do a research on the economy of the State, I will ask these questions. But as a private person, what we need to do is to ask the government what has happened, have they received the money, what have they done with it?” he stated. 

Efforts to get reaction from the State’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr Linus Nkan on the receipt of the derivation fund failed as calls made to his cellphone got no response at the time of filing the report.

It was gathered that the governors of Delta and Bayelsa states had since addressed the press, notifying their people on the received fund, but in Akwa Ibom State, the government is yet to speak on the matter, leaving the people in the dark.

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