Okowa’s agenda of Stronger Delta will be realistic if … Bishop Amajene

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By Ogude Samuel,  Warri

The President of Ijaw Oil and Gas Pro-ducing Communities Bishop (Dr) Samson Amajene has said that one of the things that will make Governor Okowa to realise the dream of a Stronger Delta  is for him (Governor) to develop the Ijaw Oil  and Gas  Producing Communities in the state.

Bishop Amajene stated this in a chat with newsmen in Effurun, Delta State. He said the body has discovered that in the first tenure of the administration of the Governor, projects done in Ijaw Oil and Gas producing communities were sketchy, adding that there were consistent budgets roll  over which drastically affected the development of Oil and Gas Producing Communities.

He said the law establishing DESOPADEC was amended three times adding that the first one made DESOPADEC like NDDC whereby the board became a part time and Director and its executive were key operators of the commission, the second and the third amendments  were extension of tenure for those in office. He added that in this new dispensation, the body appealed  that there should be 4th amendment  to restructure DESOPADEC into Ethnic Development Agencies whereby each nationality has its  accruable funds to carry out projects in their various ethnic nationalities  which have  not been the case in the first administration.

While  congratulating Governor Okowa for his election victory and subsequent swearing in along with his Deputy, Barr Kingsley Otuaro,  Bishop Amajene  said that the past  administration did not give room for transparency in the financial operation of DESOPADEC as it   has provided room for problems where monies belonging to one ethnic nationally in Oil and Gas  producing quotum   is used to pay  staff salaries and contracts of another ethnic nationally with less production quotum.

The Ijaw leader  cited an example of the statutory signatory to DESOPADEC account which deploys money from one ethnic nationality money to pay salaries and contracts of other ethnic nationalities  without the knowledge and approval of the ethnic representatives saying that this situation illustrates gross violation of financial regulations and guide lines of the commission.

He said the Federal Government pays 100% of the accruable  funds to Delta State Government for the development of the oil producing communities saying that  statutory 50% as approved in the law has never been fully implemented and  that it is a public knowledge that 50% of the 13% derivation funds has never been released when due.

Bishop Amajene added that it is also common knowledge that the consistent demands by Oil and Gas Producing Communities to correct this abnormaly failed, adding this occasioned the situation where Delta State government owes DESOPADEC millions of naira.

He said on the appointment of the new board, the body appealed to Governor Okowa to seriously protect the interest of the oil  and gas producing communities by appointing technocrats, God fearing and people oriented into the new board  to pilot the affairs of community,  not people who will not pick phone  calls and convey  Town Hall Meeting of Oil Producing Communities.

Bishop Amajene said there are agitations and lobbying that are on-going in the oil and gas producing communities on who to be appointed saying that the Ijaw Oil and Gas Producing Communities appealed to the Governor to take cognizance of the zoning arrangement that  oil and gas producing communities have put in place to avoid chaos and disorderliness in the nations.

He said: “As l speak with you, there is serious agitation and lobbying going on, on who to be appointed but we know  what the Governor  can do  this time around”.

He said for the benefit of doubt, the following are the Ijaw Nation Oil  and Gas Producing Communities namely: Gbaramatu Kingdom, Ogulaa Kingdom, Egbama Kingdom, Ogbe Ijaw kingdom, Debiri Kingdom Iduwuni Kingdom and Kau Kingdom.

The President of Ijaw Oil and Gas Producing Communities therefore appealed to the Governor to go into his archive and know the kingdoms  that have benefited  from the appointments  of the board, just as he asked him to use  his sense of judgment to avoid crisis that may be un-controllable as  that can  amount to the destruction  of critical oil installations in the swamp.

He said  the  Ijaw ethnic nationally is second in Oil  and Gas Producing Communities in the state and therefore appealed to him  to give  Ijaw body  one Executive  Director, one Commissioner and the Chairman of the Board in this second tenure to correct the anomaly and injustice done to their people over the years.

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