From Ben Dunno, Warri

Leadership of Delta Oil Producing Communities, have challenged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to provide evidence of remittance of 50% of the 13% allocation from Federation Account to Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) from 2015 when he became Governor to date.

The body who aligned itself with views expressed by Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark against the governor in his recent open letter, noted that the call for probe of funds released to DESOPADEC had become necessary based on obvious reason that Okowa’s government had starved DESOPADEC of funds in the last eight years of his administration.

Making its case in a statement signed on its behalf by; Prince Maikpobi Okareme, Viçe Chairman PANDEF Delta state, Lady Justina Tiemo, Oil Rights Advocacy Women leader, Chief Samson Oyimi, Ogbe-ijoh Leader of Thought, Elder Sylvester Sambo Piniki, Leader of Thought, Gbaramatu kingdom, the group stated that the past eight years under Okowa had been hellish for DESOPADEC.

The statement read in part; “More than anything else, the statement of elder statesman, Chief Dr. Edwin Clark, in the open letter to the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, on the non-remittance of the 13% allocation accruing to Delta State from the Federation Account is responsible for the abysmal performance of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) under Gov. Okowa”

“The DESOPADEC establishment Law in Section 17 subsection 1(a) provides that 50% of the 13% Oil Derivation Fund accruing to the Delta State Government from the Federation Account will come to the commission”.

“Today, this laudable developmental agency has been turned into a mere compensatory agency for political patronage by the Delta State Government with a handful of political leaders and their cronies as beneficiaries, instead of appointing credible and transparent persons of proven integrity and service to the people”.

“We are in a dire situation of life and death. We have a situation whereby the Governor is using his privilege position to hijack the entire 13% Allocation from the Federation Account and this has largely accounted for the failure of Commission”.

“DESOPADEC is now a moribund agency because Gov. Okowa is not paying the full 50% of the 13% to the Commission. Since Delta State has got N240B from the Federation Account, N120B ought to go to DESOPADEC. Also, if they are borrowing a so called bridging loan, half the amount should go to DESOPADEC”.

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“This is not the case today. Governor Okowa gives to the commission whatever he likes and spend money belonging to the commission in violation of the law. Since the Governor is not giving the full money, members of the Board also just take whatever that he gives them and put in their pockets”.

“The Commission has been reduced to a mere ministry for opaque political compensation”.

“The failure of Governor Okowa to appoint a substantive board of the Commission since the expiration of the current Board since 2022 is another evidence of his utmost disregard for law and order”.

“Gov. Okowa should respect law and reconstitute the Board of DESOPADEC without further delay. Elongating the tenure of the non-performing board is a disservice to the hapless communities”.

“The lack of accountability and transparency is a minus to Governor Okowa’s administration. It is, therefore, a disservice to our people such that today what they can offer is to supply grass-cutting machines”.

“How can we go on like this with a commission that only pays salaries and receive emoluments. The revelation of our leader, the elder statesman Chief Clark that funds accruing to the commission were not duly remitted by the Governor but had been used to fund three newly established universities, Koka Flyover in Asaba, Maryam Babangida Leasure Park, Film Village and Mother and Child Specialist Hospital, Owa-Alero, amount to criminal action against the oil producing communities. How do these projects affect the oil bearing communities”?

“Suffice it to say that Oil Money is being lavished on non-oil producing areas with impunity because the Government is insensitive to the plight of our people in those areas”.

“We stand with Chief Edwin Clark on retrieving the over N240 billion and accounting for the over N2 trillion received by the Okowa government under 13% Derivation so far”.

“We are challenging Governor Okowa to provide evidence of remittance of 50% of the 13% allocation from the Federation Account to DESOPADEC from 2015 when he became Governor to date”.