The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving payment of funds referred to as “Mr Projects” in political circles owed to Niger Delta states since 1999.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Nabo Graham Douglas campus of the Nigerian Law School in Rumueme, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike who commended President Buhari for approving the payment of the funds said the money has been the major source of infrastructural development of his administration.
According to him, while other presidents since 1999 held on to the 13 percent derivation funds, Buhari approved its release.
It could be noted that the 13 percent derivation fund comes from the federation revenue to oil-producing communities through the state governments as enshrined in section 162, sub-section 2 of the Nigerian constitution.
An advisory services firm, ACIOE Associates, in its report had stated that eight oil-producing states received N6.589 trillion from the Federation Account under the 13 percent derivation principle between 2009 and 2019.
However, Governor Wike was not clear about the money he accused other presidents of withholding.
Governor Wike said, “Let me say it for the first time. So many people asked me: ‘where is he getting this money’? Let me say it. I want, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, to thank Mr President. Monies that were not paid to the Niger Delta states since 1999 — the 13 percent deductions — monies that were not paid, Mr President approved and paid all of us from the Niger Delta states.
“And for me, it would be unfair not to tell the public. It is not from FAAC money. It is the money that is supposed to be for Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, and Bayelsa states. Yesterday, we commissioned the ninth flyover. In December, we will commission the tenth flyover. By February next year, we will commission eleventh and twelfth flyovers.
“So, I want to sincerely from the heart and on behalf of the government and people of the state, thank Mr President for this, because as an opposition government, he could have said ‘don’t pay’. You can’t do anything. Since 1999, the money has not been paid. Did we do anything? So, I want to sincerely thank him.”
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