The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has called on the federal government and oil companies operating in the region to remit their financial obligation to the states in the region.
It said “the federal government, all the oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta region should fulfill their financial statutory obligations to the commission by remitting all their outstanding remittances to its coffers.
“Since 2015, the government has not been remitting its statutory 15 percent of the total monthly statutory allocations due to member states of the NDDC from the federation account as well as the 50 percent of monies due to member states of the commission from the Ecological Fund”.
Among top oil companies that owe the NDDC and already served letters are Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Chevron, Shell and Agip. Others are African Petroleum, Pan Ocean oil, Petro Bas, Seplat, Haliburton, South Atlantic Petroleum and Zenon, Schlumberger and First Exploration among others.
Over 50 oil companies are owing and have been served letters by the firm as of July 26, 2019. However, the commission has written to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Federal Ministry of Finance requesting for the remittance of the money which is well over N1.2 trillion.
According to copies of the letters sighted by our correspondent prepared by Paris Trust, a firm engaged by the NDDC to undertake the facilitation and remittance of the unremitted monies, all the oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta region have also defaulted in the remittance of the three percent of their annual budget to the agency.
The 15 percent, according to the provisions of Section 14(2)(a) and (c) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment, ETC) Act, 2014 represents the contribution of the federal government to the commission.
Section 14(2)(b) of the NDDC Act, 2014 says three percent of the total annual budget of any oil-producing company operating onshore and offshore, in the Niger-Delta area; including gas-processing companies, will be paid and credited to the fund established by the NDDC for the defrayal of all expenditure.
The firm which is undertaking the facilitation and payment of the monies said it would be left with no option than to resort to legal action if, at the end of a seven-day ultimatum, they failed to make the remittances.
In a letter signed by the Principal Partner at the firm, Timothy Bagwams, also states, “Take notice, therefore, that if at the expiration of seven (7) clear days from the date of your receipt of this letter you still fail, refuse and or neglect to liquidate the outstanding indebtedness due and owing to NDDC, we shall without fail commence legal action against you in a court of law, to recover the said sum together with any additional interest that may have accrued thereon since 2015”.