DESOPADEC Received N208bn in Eight Years, Okowa Replies Clark

Omo-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Immediate past Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has said the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) got a total of N208 billion in the eight years of his administration.

Speaking on “The Morning Show” a programme on ARISE NEWS Channel, the immediate past State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu said that the Okowa administration was fair in the distribution of projects across the three senatorial districts in the state.
Aniagwu said the interventionist agency got what was due to it, according to the law establishing it, adding that the agency had annual budgets approved for them by the state House of Assembly.

According to him, the Okowa administration worked hard to enthrone peace in the state, especially in oil-producing communities and the creeks of Delta by taking development to the oil-producing communities.
He said before the emergence of the Okowa administration in 2015, Delta was fourth in oil production, adding that the Okowa administration took the state to number one in oil production because the communities were happy with the projects executed in their areas by the state government.

“Let me put it on record that we recognise the contributions of the elder statesman to the development of our democracy in time past.
“We also recognise his age because 96 years is not a joke and to that extent I didn’t come here to join issues with him, neither do we have any cause to undermine the respect we have for him on account of the path he has chosen in recent times.
“The issues he has canvassed are not original to him and because they are not original to him, in some areas he progressed in error.
“Premium Trust Bank does not in any way belong to Okowa. In Delta State during the administration of Governor Okowa, the state operated three distinct accounts.

“The FAAC Account which takes remittances from the Federation Account and other remittances is domiciled in Zenith Bank and it’s still there.
“The second account is called the State and Local Government Joint Account which is the JAAC account and that account is with UBA and you know the owners of UBA.

“The third account is the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) account which is with Sterling Bank.
“The Premium Trust Bank is owned by individuals who have had a very good stay in the banking industry.
“To prove that the views canvassed by the elder statesman are not original to him, the name of the MD of Premium Trust Bank is Emefienem and he is not even from the same local government as Governor Okowa. The man is from Abavo in Ika South and Okowa is from Ika North-East; they are not related in any way.

“He also talked about Monday Okowa who has been in the banking industry for more than two decades.
“He started from the old Oceanic Bank to Ecobank before proceeding to Zenith Bank where he rose to the level of branch manager in one of the biggest branches in Asaba and when this new bank came on stream he moved to Premium Trust Bank”
On the issue of 13 per cent derivation, Aniagwu said the elder statesman was not correct when he claimed that former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike exposed the refunds to the oil-producing states.

According to him, Wike only made mention of it after Delta State Government under the leadership of Governor Okowa had written to the state House of Assembly to seek for discounted facility based on the said refunds.
“The federal government agreed they were owing oil producing states but they were not in a position to refund the entire money at once and that they will pay instalmentally for five years.

“When we went to the state assembly and we publicised it in line with our transparency principle. There was no time anybody reported in this country that Buhari doled out N200 billion to one state without publicising it.
“In the case of Rivers, as soon as it was agreed that these funds need to be refunded, Rivers State without following laid down principles approached a commercial bank and discounted the expected refund to the tune of 30 per cent to the bank and the bank was able to give them all the money.
“For us we didn’t agree to follow that route, we said no, another administration is coming and we cannot discount all our money and we cannot just ignore the next administration.

“When we approached the House of Assembly with the list of projects we intended to fund with the discount facility it was well publicised.
The ex-commissioner said the Okowa’s administration grew the state’s internally generated revenue from N53 Billion in 2015 to N79 billion in 2023.
“We didn’t grow it by over taxing the people but by increasing the tax net as a result of the increasing ease of doing business in the state,” Aniagwu added.

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