The coalition of militant groups in the nine states of the Niger Delta region under the aegis of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) have declared their support for the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege over his comment on the alleged diversion of the 13 percent oil derivation funds by governors of the oil producing states.
The RNDA also declared support for the alleged moves by President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to check mate the state governors of the Niger Delta states on the 13 per cent derivation fund with the establishment of a Coastal Royal Development Agency to ensure direct funding of development and empowerment projects to oil producing communities in the region.
According to the RNDA, though the informed position on the misappropriation of the 13 per cent derivation by state governors is included in the 12-point demands of the militant groups to the federal government, the position of the deputy senate president is further affirmation that the federal government should review the key issues of proper payment of gas flare penalty funds, the utilization of the 13 percent derivation funds, direct involvement of oil producing communities in the sharing of the funds and the involvement of the host communities (HOSTCOM) in the issue of pipeline surveillance security contract jobs.
The RNDA, in a communique issued on Sunday, November 8, 2020 via electronic mail and signed by its coordinator, Johnmark Ezonebi also known along the creek as Obama, stated that despite the ongoing discussions entered into between the group, stakeholders and traditional rulers from the region and the federal government over issues of the 21 days ultimatum issued in October, “it was agreed the agitated militant group should sheath their swords and allow the issues be presented to President Buhari and they will come out with a drastic solution to ameliorate the emancipated neglected people of the region”.
The group revealed that the ongoing discussion with the federal government has led to a meeting between the deputy senate president, Ovie Omo-Agege, the minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, the senior special adviser to the president on Niger Delta, Ita Eyang including the coordinator of the presidential Amnesty programme, Rtd Col Dikkio Millard and the minister of petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, with some serving senators and House of Reps members from the region, ”to engage the delegation of leaders headed by High Chief Wellington Okrika and traditional rulers were led by HRM King Diete Spiff the Amayanabor of Twon Brass with the leadership of HOSTCOM which is headed by Dr. Prince Mike Emuh.”
“At the meeting, the deputy senate president on behalf of the federal government re-assured the delegation team of dialogue headed by High Chief Wellington Okrika that all the critical issues raised by them will not be thrown into the dustbin and that the release of the gas flair penalty funds will be addressed and also the 13 percent derivation funds that is hanging and ends in the hands of the Niger Delta state governors instead of the funds to go directly to the oil producing communities that are suffering from the oil exploitation and exploration activities in the creeks.
“The funds which was originally approved by the federal government to address the sufferings of the oil producing communities that is now being diverted by these governors will be looked into critically and the federal government will set up 13 percent derivation trust fund or coastal royal 13 per cent derivation development agency will be established with a legislative backing in order to address this man-made perpetual injustice created by the governors of the Niger Delta.
“Therefore the deputy senate president assured the dialogue team headed by High Chief Wellington Okrika and the traditional rulers led by HRM King Diete Spiff and the HOSTCOM National Chairman that President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC led federal government will not disappoint the people of the Niger Delta region.
“To this end, the RNDA, with the coalition of the nine militant groups in the creek, want to salute and commend the Deputy Senate President, who is the political leader of the Niger Delta region, for his proactiveness, charismatic, patriotic and leadership qualities he has exhibited so far in handling issues of national interest for the peace and development of the Niger Delta people and the nation at large.