The Bayelsa State government has filed a suit at the Supreme Court against the Federal Government over sharing of oil revenue.
The suit with reference number SC 386/2018, was filed under Civil Summons Order 3 Rule 5 of the Supreme Court by its Attorney-General.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) is the defendant in the matter.
The state, through its counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), is praying the apex court to declare that by the provision of Section 44(3) and Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, all revenue collected from the sale of crude oil by or for the Federal Government should be paid into the Federation Account.
“A declaration that by virtue of section 162(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, all revenue collected shall be paid into the Federation Account except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry of Department charged with foreign affairs and residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“An order that the Federal Government to pay plaintiff N136,266,385,850.96 and N154,719,603,662.84 being money payable to the plaintiff by the defendant from Federation Account between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2017 pursuant to the provision of section 1 of the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, etc) Act and under the Domestic Crude Oil sales Revenue regime of the defendant but which were withheld by the defendant and represented to have been used to settle Petroleum subsidy without the plaintiff consent.’’
The Bayelsa government therefore prayed the Supreme Court to restrain the federal government, whether by itself, it’s agencies, servants, privies, officers representative or otherwise howsoever called from utilising any part of the revenues collected from the sale of crude oil which otherwise payable into federation Account to pay for or cover petroleum subsidy.
In the plaintiff witness statement on oath deposed to by the Commissioner for Finance, Maxwell Ebibai, it was averred that various activities of federal government under its petroleum subsidy have resulted in continuous dwindling of Federation Account revenue to the detriment of its state because of the unlawful deduction from source.
It also said unlawful deduction has adversely affected the money paid to states and Bayelsa as well as 13 percent derivation fund being paid to the its state from the Federation Account.
In its 28-paragraph statement of claim, the plaintiff claimed that N6,430,890,322,306.37 was not spent on petroleum subsidy as claimed by the Federal Government but withheld as “Withheld Fund”.
The plaintiff averred that between January 2011 and December 2017, the revenue collected from crude oil sales lifted by the Federal Government under its Domestic Crude Oil Sales Revenue regime amounted to N15,259,070,879,388.50, out of which only N8,828,180,557,087.12 was remitted to the federation accounts.
The plaintiff further stated: N6,430,890,322,306.37 was deducted by the Federal Government from the source and presented to the other states of the federation and the plaintiff to have been used to settle petroleum subsidy and associated costs.
“Despite repeated demands by the plaintiff, and indeed other states of the federation, the Federal Government has not been able to show evidence of N6,430,890,322,306.37 as claimed.”
The plaintiff further stated that the Federal Government has deprived of oil-producing states of N836,015,741,899.83 out of ‘withheld fund’ based on 13 per cent derivation formular, including the plaintiff’s share amounting to N136,266,385,850.96 which remain unpaid to the plaintiff by the federal government.
The plaintiff further averred that continuous use by the federal government, part of the monies payable to the federation account to settle petroleum subsidy without plaintiff consent, has subjected the plaintiff to double jeopardy because it has been deprived of its share of 24 percent of the revenue which is divisible amongst the 36 states of the federation pursuant to Section 1 of the Allocation of Revenue Act.
The Supreme Court is yet to fix a date for suit’s hearing.