The Akwa Ibom state government has accused the federal government of withholding billions of naira belonging to the state.
Akwa Ibom and other oil-rich states are constitutionally entitled to 13 per cent of revenue which Nigeria derives from petroleum oil.
Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, said President Muhammadu Buhari-led government apart from deducting money meant for the state, is withholding its oil derivation money.
“As at today, they’ve withheld all our derivation funds, we have not gotten anything out of the derivation for last month. Within two months, they have dropped the allocation of Akwa Ibom State by N6.8 billion,” Mr Emmanuel said Monday when he received a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Kabiru Turaki, who visited him in Uyo.
The proceeding of the meeting is contained in a press statement issued by Government House, Uyo.
The governor said the federal government was playing politics with revenue allocation to states.
“You can imagine how much I was able to get, all in the name of politics,” he said. “I’m still trying to pay salaries for July.”
Mr Emmanuel told the visiting presidential aspirant, “I want to believe that if you come into power, you would never do that to the opposition.
“You need opposition to govern well because if you don’t have constructive criticisms on what you are doing, you are heading towards destruction.”
Mr Emmanuel, on June 2, during a press briefing in Uyo to mark the third anniversary of his administration, had pressed on journalists to speak up on the alleged shortfall in the money accruing to the state from the federation account.
“Even the oil money you are reporting, you don’t report that I don’t even get 20 per cent of what I should be getting.
“While our oil prices are going up, our revenue is coming down. And this is where you should shout to the whole world, but nobody is shouting,” the governor told journalists.
Since the news of the alleged deduction and withholding of the state’s money became public, there has been apprehension in the state over its economic impact on the people.
The Commissioner for Finance in the state, Linus Nkan, in a live telephone conversation with a local radio station in the state, on Tuesday, tried to explain to the people what was going on.
“Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak to Akwa Ibom people concerning the allocation from the federation account…What Akwa Ibom state got for the month of July was just last week.
“After the FAAC meeting, there was this public announcement made that the highest amount of money ever shared this year was over N800 billion.
“Actually, it was expected that all the states would have had a whole lot of money more than what they have ever had since the beginning of this year.
“The essence of talking to you is to clear the air…. While generally the amount of money that was shared to all the 36 states of the federation and Abuja was the highest, but the share to Akwa Ibom state was not as high as expected. In fact, what we had for Akwa Ibom state was almost the least in the last six months.
“Our revenue was down by over 30 per cent, compared to what we received the previous months.
“We and other oil-producing states were denied the derivation money,” the finance commissioner said.
Apart from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa state has also accused the federal government of not paying full 13 per cent derivation money to oil-producing states in the country.
“We practice in this country, a very funny federal system and these are the reasons some of us are passionate about the call for a restructured Nigeria so that we can address these challenges and imbalances.
“Even within the existing constitutional framework that has made provisions for 13 percent derivation, the implementation of it does not really come to 13 percent. It is unfortunate,” the Governor of Bayelsa, Seriake Dickson, reportedly said in April this year.