Traditional rulers demand release of accumulated revenues to NNDC
Amanyanabo Of Brass His Royal Highness, King Alfred Diete-Spiff
Twenty-five years after traditional rulers and other stakeholders from the Oil and Minerals Producing States of the country pushed and got government to establish the Oil and Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), they are again up in arms fighting to help NNDC recover its statutory accumulated allocations from Federal Government.
According to King Alfred Diete-Spiff, the Amanyanabo of Brass in Bayelsa State, the traditional rulers from these states were in 1992 “guided by the unique characteristics of the Niger Delta Region, as laid by Sir Henry Willinks Commission of 1958, which recommended that the areas deserved special developmental attention by the Nigerian government, engaged in the intense struggle for OMPADEC to be created by the then government of General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd).”
“Following the growing discontent and restiveness in the oil producing areas, Babangida decided to establish OMPADEC, with three percent of the federal oil revenue allocated to the Commission to address developmental needs of the areas.
And though OMPADEC initially raised the spirit and hopes of the people, the organisation’s inefficiency and corruption resulted in yet more disappointment. More disturbing is the large sum of federal oil revenue allocation, which has not yet been released to the Commission over a long period of time now. This, no doubt, has been of great concern to traditional rulers from these states, who have been meeting and doing all within their powers to get the revenue released, so that the successor agency, NNDC can complete all its abandoned projects across the region.”
King Alfred Diete-Spiff, who is the Patron of the Committee of Traditional Rulers of Oil and Minerals Producing States, has for some time now been visiting such states as Edo, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers to ensure that TROMPCOM produces the type of chairman that will help give proper direction to the body.
On August 22, 2017, the Amanyanabo of Brass visited the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II in his palace as the Chairman of Edo State Traditional Rulers Council. The visit was to prepare the Oba’s mind to assume chairmanship of TROMPCOM after the expiration of the tenure of incumbent Chairman, Awon Iyono, who is the Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Council. Awon Iyono has just been elected to steer the affairs of the body for another two years.
King Diete-Spiff told the Oba of Benin, “The chairmanship of the body is rotational every two years.” Spiff further told Palace Watch that the reason for his visit to Oba Ewuare II was to, among other things, “appreciate the immense contributions his late father, the immediate past Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa, made to the formation, development and growth of the organisation.”
At the Benin Palace, King Spiff said: “Now is the time to find a way of encouraging the Federal Government to find a way of utilising the abundant gas resources in the oil and minerals producing areas of the country to its fullest, instead of flaring it. Gas flaring is causing a lot of environmental and health hazards for the people in these areas.”
The esteemed Oba intends to begin the tour with a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Villa, Abuja, after which he will be visiting traditional rulers across the country, some of whom graced his coronation in October last year.
The Amanyanabo said the Act setting up NNDC provides for a “Governing Board of 20 members. Ten of the members are appointed by Federal Government (The Presidency), including the Chairman, the MD/CEO, two Executive Directors, and three Representatives of non-oil producing states alongside other representation.”
King Spiff said his interest as a patron of the body is to ensure that a quality Chairman and Secretary of TROMPCOM emerge, because they are going to be the eyes and ears of the traditional rulers from the Oil and Minerals Producing Areas on the board of NNDC. “We must, therefore, make sure we have in place people that will give us quality representation on the board,” he concluded.
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