Governor Nyesom Wike has described as unfortunate comments by the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri over ownership of Soku Oil Well.
Governor Wike said Soku Oil Well belongs to Rivers State and urged the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to continue to ensure the payment of the accruing revenue to the State.
Diri had on Tuesday last week flayed the deduction of Bayelsa state’s revenue by the commission in favour of Rivers State following a high court ruling.
Governor Diri said the hurried implementation of the ruling was unacceptable and sub judice as the state’s appeal was pending at the Supreme Court.
He also said it was tantamount to ceding of Bayelsa territory indirectly to Rivers.
But Wike said: “It is unfortunate that the Bayelsa State Governor told you when you visited him that you should not pay us revenue from Soku Oil Well.
“The matter was at the Supreme Court when the National Boundary Commission admitted that they made an error in their 11th edition publication by situating Soku Oil Well in Bayelsa State.
“They were, therefore, directed to correct the error in their 12th edition publication. When they also failed to effect the correction, we had to go back to the Federal High Court. The court, in its wisdom directed that all revenue accruing from Soku Oil Well should be paid to Rivers State.
“That is the position. For Bayelsa State Governor to come up to say that you should not pay us our money is unfortunate.
“If they have filed a matter at the Supreme Court, it is not an injunction to stop the implementation of the subsisting judgement”, he stated.
Wike who stated this during a visit by the commission to Port Harcourt, however, advocated a new revenue-sharing formula that will make the States get more money for development.
He pointed out that the States bear more development burden and would require more money to cater to the needs of the people.
“There cannot be a Federal Government without the States. So, we advocate a new revenue formula that should take more revenue out of the Federal Government and given to the States.
“This is because the burden is more on the States than the Federal Government. So, the states should have more revenue to cater for the people,” he said.
The Governor commended the Commission for taking the bold step to correct fraudulent practices adopted by some States in order to gain financial advantage.
He assured that the State would continue to interface with the Commission to make their work easy.
Governor Wike reiterated his determination to deploy all resources received for the development of the State.
Leader of the delegation, Alhaji Mohammed Kabiru Usman said they were on an advocacy and sensitization tour to the State.
He said their 2018 verification exercise was characterized by fraud because some data supplied by some states were very spurious.
According to him, such over-inflated figures were to make those states get money that they do not deserve and deny others.
Alhaji Usman said the visit would afford them the time to sensitize the relevant financial officers in the State on the importance of providing correct data to the commission.