WARRI – THE group of host communities in Delta South Senatorial district, Delta State, led by Niger-Delta activist, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, weekend, rebuffed the move by the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to stop its court action against new Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, law.
Governor Okowa had visited the Warri monarch, Ogiamae Atutwase, recently, to prevail on Chief Lori-Ogbebor and her group to simmer down.
A top member of the bloc and former Commissioner in the state, Mr. Omolubi Newuwumi, told Vanguard, Sunday, “I guess you must have seen the response of the Olu of Warri in the newspapers where he said Okowa should not take for granted the words said by Chief Lori-Ogbebor.”
He said that even the appointment of an Itsekiri son, Hon Godwin Ebosa, as chair of the DESOPADEC governing board would not prevent the court action.
His words, “We are proceeding with the court suit because our position has never been who becomes the DESOPADEC chairman or whose ethnic nationality produces the chairman, but with the recent law passed into law by the present administration of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, as it relates to the host communities.”
“Our argument has been that the new law does not favour the host communities, especially on the issues of the constitution of the board and the issues of having the same equal representatives with other senatorial districts, which do not produce oil or are impacted with oil exploration as stated in the law.
“The issue of whether an Itsekiri man or an Ijaw man becomes the chairman is not it because the board has a chairman, a managing Director, three executive directors and nine representatives coming from the three senatorial districts that make up Delta state. That to me is not being fair to the oil producing communities, the local governments or the senatorial districts that produce oil and gas. They bear the burden of oil exploration and exploitation,” he said.
Newuwumi asserted, “For you to say you are sharing per senatorial amount to marginalization of these ethnic nationalities and its people. I am against this as stated in page (2) paragraph (4) of the new amended bill because it does not represent the true principle as stated in the constitution.”
“We are also going to ask the state government what they are doing with 50 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund because it is clear that the state budget is planned according to the revenue allocation from the federal government and its internal generated revenue.
“The 50 per cent from the 13 per cent fund which they deduct from the amount given to DESOPADEC is not included in the state budget presentation, so we need to ask what they do with the money. If DESOPADEC can present their own budget, develop communities; capacity building with their own 50 per cent, what is the state doing with the other 50 per cent to the oil and gas producing areas? He queried.
He added, “Again, what is the actual amount of money coming in as derivation from the federal government? These and more are the questions they need to answer and that is why we are going to court.”
– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/08/lori-ogbebor-group-calls-okowas-bluff-despite-visit-to-olu-of-warri/#sthash.cjUMVj7g.dpuf