Bayelsa sues FG, alleges non-remittance of crude oil proceeds …

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Oladimeji Ramon

The Government of Bayelsa State has sued the Federal Government, alleging illegal unilateral spending of parts of crude oil earnings.

In the suit filed by its Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the Bayelsa State Government accused the Federal Government of not fully remitting into the Federation Account earnings from sales of crude it.

It alleged that without the consent of the states, the Federal Government had been withholding some funds from proceeds of crude oil, claiming to be using it to settle fuel subsidy.

The Bayelsa State Government is contending that the alleged withholding of crude oil proceeds by the Federal Government was affecting allocation to the states from the Federation Account.

It said it had particularly affected the quantum of the 13 per cent derivation fund due to it as an oil-producing state.

In its statement of claim, the Bayelsa State Government said a total of N15.2tn was generated from sales of crude oil between January 2011 and December 2017.

It, however, alleged that out of this amount, only N8.8tn was remitted into the Federation Account by the Federal Government.

According to the state, the Federal Government unilaterally deducted N6.4tn from the crude oil proceeds, claiming to have spent it on fuel subsidy and associated cost, but “despite repeated demands by the plaintiff, and indeed other states of the federation, the Federal Government has not been able to show evidence of the sum of N6,430,890,322,306.37 as claimed.”

The Bayelsa State Government is urging the Supreme Court to order the Federal Government “to pay the plaintiff the sums of N136,266,385,850.96 and N154,719,603,662.84, being monies payable to the plaintiff by the defendant from the Federation Account between 1st January 2011 and 31st December 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’s consent.”

The state is also urging the Supreme Court to restrain the Federal Government from “from utilising any part of the revenues collected from the sale of crude oil which is otherwise payable into Federation Account to pay for or cover petroleum subsidy.”

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