Ibaji Unity Forum (IUF) has called on Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, to as a matter of urgency create an oil producing development commission as part of effort to protect oil bearing communities from flooding.
Ibaji community, recently named oil producing area by the federal government in Kogi state, called for a share of their host community fund and 13 per cent derivatives.
They said this was in line with the provisions of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution which created the 13 percent oil derivation fund for oil producing states to help address issues on environmental pollution, degradation, among other devastating climatic conditions.
They noted that Section 162 (2) of constitution the stated that the fund is to assist oil producing communities in tackling environmental pollution and degradation, provision of basic amenities like healthcare, portable water, road and economic empowerment of community people.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, the president of IUF, Barr. Stephen Uchola, said Ibaji has become an oil-producing area after over 70 years of exploration.
“Except for the newly qualified oil producers (Anambra and Kogi) all other oil producing states have established oil producing development commissions to execute this constitutional mandate on behalf of the Government.
“We therefore hereby recommend the immediate creation of an oil producing development commission by the state government for ease and transparent utilization of the revenue from the derivation fund. In the interim, we recommend the opening of a dedicated account for receiving money from the 13% derivation fund.
“As a government of new direction, we expect the Governor to strictly abide by the provisions of the constitution so that the heroes of the struggle would not have died in vain,” he said.
Recounting the menace caused by the flood, Uchola said the Ibaji Local Government Area had received the least attention and publicity of extensive damages caused by the flood.
He urged the Federal and Kogi Governments to urgently take necessary steps to rescue thousands of people trapped in different communities in the area due to the ravaging flood disaster.
He said that since the outbreak of the devastating flood that has submerged the entire local government and rendered the residents homeless, there had not been any assistance from the government and its agencies for the victims.
He, therefore, called on the government to expedite action in the disbursement of relief materials to the people of Ibaji.
He also said the flood water is only the water available to the people even when it is unfit for bathing and drinking, according to a test result from the Federal Capital Territory Waterboard.