Tension As Ijaw Oil And Gas Producing Communities Protest Alleged Marginalisation In 2016 DESOPADEC Budget In Delta

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By Sylvester Idowu in Warri

There was palpable tension in Warri, Delta State, on Wednesday as aggrieved Ijaw oil and gas producing communities protested against alleged gross marginalisation in this year’s budget of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) recently passed by the State House of Assembly.

The protesters, in a statement made available to THISDAY, accused the leadership of DESOPADEC as well as members of the State House of Assembly of not following the laws establishing the Commission by allocating projects to the different ethnic host communities in line with their quatum production.

They accused the Chairman and the Managing Director of the Commission of avarice and lopsidedness, particularly in the allocations of projects in the Centralized Budget.

In the statement signed by Bishop Dr. Samson Amajene (JP), President, Gbaramatu Kingdom and Comrade Morrison Anuwo, President, Egbema Kingdom, the leaders and stakeholders of Ijaw oil producing communities said they had earlier raised an alarm against the lopsidedness and injustice perpetrated against the Ijaw ethnic nationality, which produces 27% of oil and gas resources in the state.

“Our attention, as leaders and stakeholders of Ijaw oil and gas producing communities in Delta State, has been drawn again to the outrageous lopsidedness in the 2016 budget of the Delta State  Oil Producing Areas  Development Commission (DESOPADEC).

“We had raised the alarm as soon as we got wind of the gross marginalization of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in this budget when we wrote an open letter to the State Governor, Sen. (Dr) Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa.

“In the said open letter, we accused the Chairman and the Managing Director of the Commission of avarice and lopsidedness, particularly in the allocations of projects in the centralized budget, in which the Chairman’s Itsekiri ethnic nationality was allocated projects worth over N1.7 billion while the Managing Directors of Urhobo ethnic group got projects worth N572 million.”

The group lamented that instead of addressing the lopsidedness and injustice perpetrated against the Ijaw ethnic nationality, which produces 27% of oil and gas resources in the state, Governor Okowa kept a disturbing silence, allowing some people in the Commission and the House of Assembly to carry out the nefarious act unhindered.