By SAM JONES
YENAGOA (Sundiata Post) – The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has tackled Governor Douye Diri over the spending of the money that accrued to the state and local government areas from the 13% derivation refund.
The party wants him to explain what happened to the over N100 billion that came to the state and the over N3.0 billion that accrued to each of the eight local government areas from the refund.
State chairman of the party, Dr. Dennis Otiotio, told journalists at the Correspondents’ Forum of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel in Yenagoa on Tuesday that the party is preparing to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the matter.
Dr. Otiotio also challenged the governor to tell Bayelsans how his administration spent the of over N100 billion that accrued to the state from the 13% derivation fund refund.
He accused Governor Diri’s Prosperity Government of bringing suffering to the people, saying, “He has failed woefully in all ramifications,” and blamed the government for lack of water and electricity in the state.
He said: “We are told that about N3.0 billion is accrue to each of the local government area of the state from money that was withheld from 13% derivation, but we are aware that as we speak, there are no elected officials manning the local governments in the state, because the governor is unable to conduct local government election.
“And since there are no officials at the local government councils, how did they manage this N3.0 billion? I hear they are sharing the money with candidates to go and do projects.
“We are going to write EFCC to investigate that money. The money was given to the local governments.
“They should explain to Bayelsans how they spent the money when there are no officials at the local governments.
“Coming to the state, they got over N100 billion from that 13% refunds from the record we have seen. Meanwhile, a month after they got the money, the governor was going to the state assembly with loan request.
“Why are they collecting loan when they have over N100 billion from the Federal Government?
“It is unfortunate that even the various transparency briefings they have been holding, they have not seen it necessary to disclose that they have collected over N100 billion from the Federation Account.
“That is the money that PDP-led Federal Government then withheld, but APC-led Federal Government released them to the PDP states, but the governors unanimously concealed it, if not for the revelation by Governor Nyesome Wike.
“Governor Diri needs to gives us the proper account of how the money was spent, and stop these shady transparency briefings they are doing because it is clear that the transparency briefing is a farce if at the time they did the transparency briefing, they did not inform Bayelsans that Federal Government has released the withheld money, but six months after, they came out because there was a revelation.
“We can see that the Governor Douye Diri administration has brought suffering to the people of Bayelsa State. Our resources have been mismanaged, the people could not enjoy the dividends of democracy. The essence of governance is to create enabling environment for business to strive.”
Dr. Otiotio questioned why the 2023 budget allocated funds to both the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to tackle flood and erosion.
He also questioned why the projects for which a huge sum of money was allocated to the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure were not itemised saying the budget is fraudulent.
Governor Douye Diri, had, while receiving the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Barry Ndiomu during a courtesy visit recently, that the 13% derivation refunds that accrued to the state was being prudently utilised on infrastructure development.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, had also, in a statement, defended the use of the refunds, saying the administration had nothing to hide.
Alabrah said the monthly allocations to the state from the Federation Account had always been made public through its monthly transparency briefings.
He, however, explained that what the state received as 13% derivation refund from the time of the previous administration was being paid in instalments after it had been discounted.