Olisa Ifeajika who is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, says the governor is not in any way opposed to the clamour by oil-bearing communities that they be given funds directly from the 13 per cent Derivation Fund.

He said that contrary to the reasoning and issues being canvassed by some groups and the slant adopted by a section of the media on the issue, Okowa wished that the agitation should be holistic and collective.

He said he would rather the agitation is targeted at getting the federal government to give oil-producing states more percentage of funds from the remaining 87 per cent still being kept and shared across the country.

Ifeajika made this known in a statement in Asaba on Sunday, November 22, 2020.

According to him, the governor only advised that if people and communities must agitate for the control of the 13 per cent derivation, they should also clamour for the entire 100 per cent from the federal government as 13 per cent is a meagre sum compared to the 87 per cent still being held and shared among all the states and the federal government.

The spokesperson explained that the law establishing Delta State Oil-Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC), which empowered it to manage part of the 13 per cent derivation funds, was enacted long before Okowa became governor.

Delta Gov Okowa presents budget before the House on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 (Delta State press corps)
Delta Gov Okowa presents budget before the House on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 (Delta State press corps)

He said that previous administrations in the state administered the derivation funds in line with the law, which the present administration has not deviated from.

"The law establishing DESOPADEC indicates that 50 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund shall be used by the commission for the purpose of development projects and programmes in oil-producing communities.

"Governor Okowa in his characteristic forthrightness, which has ingratiated him to all Deltans, has continued to attend to issues concerning DESOPADEC according to the law.

"He is not opposed to communities agitating for the control of derivation funds; and for peace and progress of the state, the governor remains committed to ensuring that projects and other life-lifting infrastructure are evenly distributed in oil-producing communities.

"Since the present administration assumed office in 2015, the governor has carried out reforms to re-focus DESOPADEC, as an interventionist agency, to deliver life-changing infrastructure in the communities," he said.

Ifeajika reaffirmed that the governor is profoundly concerned about peace in the Niger Delta, especially in the South-South, and has been working in synergy with his colleagues in the region to ensure that peace continues to prevail in all the states.

He added that Okowa and other governors in the South-South and national assembly members from the zone have been collaborating to ensure that clauses for adequate funds to be made available to communities hosting oil facilities and their activities were enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).