The Federal Government has released details of the oil derivation refunds from 1999 made to Niger Delta states amidst a growing controversy that the funds had been misused by some governments in the region.
The federal government disclosed in a statement that the 9 oil-producing states received a total of seven trillion naira 13 per cent oil derivation, subsidy and SURE-P refunds from the Federation Account between 2021 and 2022. The refunds date from 1999 to 2021.
The states that received the refunds dating from 1999 to 2021 are Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
It is the first public confirmation by the Federal Government that huge amounts of money, separate from monthly federal allocations, had been paid to the states, amidst growing questions on how the state authorities used the funds.
Neither the federal nor the affected state governments disclosed the payments until October 2022 when Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers said he spent the funds on multibillion Naira projects in Rivers State, and challenged his other colleagues in the Niger Delta to explain how they used theirs.
Governors in the region have since come under pressure to disclose the amounts they received and how they spent them. While some have released the figures collected, none, except the Rivers governor, has tied the refunds to specific projects delivered.
Yet, many states in the region owe benefits to workers and retirees with poverty rates also among the highest in the country.
In the details provided, Akwa Ibom and Delta States got the largest refunds.