Niger Delta Ijaw Professionals seek accountability for oil revenue spending

Wills said the association was seeking greater involvement of the Federal Government in the development of the Niger Delta region.

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The Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) on Friday called on communities to intensify the demand for transparent and accountable spending of the 13 per cent oil derivation for Bayelsa.

This is contained in a communiqué signed by Mr Iniruo Wills, President, Homeland Chapter of the association, after its meeting in Yenagoa.

The pan-Ijaw professional group said it is now prepared to put pressure on the state in its fight against the alleged misuse of the special oil revenues.

“Ijaw nation must localise its agitation and cause the states and local governments to become transparent and accountable in the spending of these funds.

“We shall intensify this fight locally while we also put pressure on the Federal Government for more equitable allocation,’’ Wills said.

Wills said the association was seeking greater involvement of the Federal Government in the development of the Niger Delta region.

He said the group was of the position that the governments could use revenues from oil being the only primary source of development to touch the lives of the people.

The group further said that the funds must be strategically and properly deployed to assuage the developmental needs of the people.

On the preservation of the environment, the group said it would direct its legal and social enforcement actions in that regards.

Wills said the group required NNPC and the federal government, who held about 60 per cent stake in the oil and gas businesses in Ijaw lands, to step up their actions against oil spillages.

“We are also calling on the regulators like the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Environment, Department of Petroleum Resources, and others to stop gas flaring and pollution of the environment.

“We will also engage the anti graft agencies to account for the number of convictions as it concerns pipeline vandalism and the diversion of funds meant for host communities from international oil companies,’’ he said.

On the independence of local governments, the body maintained that a virile local government system would bring about speedy development.

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“Ijaw people have agreed to lead the charge to remove local governments from the grip of state governors.

“It is also our position that the state and local governments in Ijaw land should settle all unpaid salaries and urgently put an end to the strange and unacceptable practice of owing workers’ salaries.

“We also call for the historical account of all loans, repayments and what those funds were used for by respective state governments in Ijaw land from 1999 till date,’’ Wills said.

Also present at the meeting were Mr Alaere Raine, Vice President; Mrs Meg Agidee, Treasurer, and Mr Abiye Nyanabo, the Assistant Secretary.

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