Group urges Diri to account for Bayelsa’s share of 13% derivation arrears

Yenagoa—The Bayelsa Development Initiative (BDI) has called on the state Governor, Senator Douye Diri, to render a comprehensive account of the arrears of 13 per cent derivation deductions paid to the state by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

According to the group, unpaid arrears of 13 per cent derivation deductions since 1999 was distributed to the states in the Niger Delta with Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom receiving chunk of the money running into billions of naira.

The national coordinator of the group, Engr. Udengs Eradiri lamented on Tuesday that the humongous amount of money was kept secret by Diri until his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, made a striking revelation about the payment in November last year.

“We are not even talking about the main 13 per cent derivation that accrues to the state every month. The arrears paid by Buhari were deductions from the 13 per cent derivation since 1999.

“But the present administration of Governor Douye Diri received the state’s share of the money but refused to disclose such payment to the owners of the money. Such non-disclosure violates the principles of accountability and transparency in governance.

“Bayelsans deserve to know every kobo that enters and leaves the state’s coffers and any leader that fails the test of accountability, the way Diri had done, should on his own resign from his office because such leader has no business in governance,”he said.

Eradiri, a former Commissioner in the ministries of Youths and Environment said Diri after failing the test of full disclosure, later grudgingly admitted receiving such money following pressure from members of the public but refused to emphatically state how much accrued to Bayelsa.

He said: “We recalled that Governor Nyesom Wike listed all the big ticket projects he executed in Rivers with his state’s share of the same money including a world-class campus of the Nigerian Law School.

“All these projects in Rivers were executed within one year. Since then Wike has been completing and kicking off new projects.

“But in Bayelsa, there is nothing to show that such a huge amount of money was paid to the state. Governor Douye Diri is busy dancing and smiling at occasions and campaign grounds. Yenagoa has remained a forest capital.

“All we hear about is work in progress. No big-ticket project has been completed and inaugurated by the Diri’s administration. This government keeps deceiving people and converting a single project into phases of completion.

“Very soon these phases of completion and earthwork will be listed as the achievements of Diri on his next anniversary.

“What exactly did Governor Diri do with our 13 per cent derivation arrears? Is it part of the money he is stashing away for his re-election? Has the money been looted and shared?

“The BDI cannot see what the governor has used the money to do. Even the deaf and the blind can hear and see what such money is being used for in Rivers.”

He said it was time the people of Bayelsa rose to stop the alleged squandering and looting of their common patrimony adding that the purported continuous rape of the state by a clique of incompetent, greedy, Yahoo-Yahoo and clueless leaders must give way for sincere, passionate and development-oriented leadership.

“The BDI is saying that we cannot continue like this. We can no longer afford to use Bayelsa money as a bazaar for a few gluttonous leaders, who are constantly kneeling on the neck of our state’s development.

“There must be a radical and revolutionary turnaround. The people must wake up and take back their state,”he said.

The state government is yet to respond to claims made by the BDI as of the time of filing this report.

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