Members of oil and gas-producing communities of Delta State on Thursday stormed the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja to demand the probe of the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, for illegally and unlawfully diverting the 13% oil derivation funds for the communities.
The protesters led by Delta-born human and environmental rights advocate, Comrade Sheriff Made in a protest letter to the anti-graft agency demand the invitation of Governor Okowa to account for the 50% exclusively earmarked for oil and gas producing communities through Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
They accused the governor of diverting the funds for his personal interest instead of developing the oil and gas-producing host communities.
Read the full text of their petition addressed to the chairman of the EFCC below:
ILLEGAL AND UNLAWFUL DIVERSION AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF THE SUM OF N1,077,450,285,552.17 (ONE TRILLION, SEVENTY-SEVEN BILLION, FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION, TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-TWO NAIRA, SEVENTEEN KOBO) BY THE IMMEDIATE-PAST GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, SENATOR (DR) IFEANYI OKOWA IN RESPECT OF THE 50% LEGALLY PRESCRIBED ALLOCATION TO DELTA STATE OIL PRODUCING AREAS DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (DESOPADEC) FROM THE 13% OIL DERIVATION FUND FOR REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE OIL PRODUCING AREAS IN DELTA STATE.
We are leaders and representatives of oil and gas producing Communities of Delta State. We wish to draw the attention of the general public, particularly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to the illegal diversion of our entitlement from the 13% derivation funds.
We are indigenes and members of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities in Delta State and it’s on this strength we are drawing the attention of your office in respect of the flagrant and deliberate abuse of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and section 13 (1) of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015 and 2018 established to cater for the wellbeing of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities in Delta State.
It is imperative to state that the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015 and 2018 respectively was established to expressly execute a clear mandate as stated in Section 13(1) of the DESOPADEC Law which provides thus:
“The commission shall receive and administer exclusively 50% of the Oil Derivation fund accruing to the Delta State Government for;
a) The rehabilitation of the oil producing communities/areas of the state.
b) Other development projects as may be determined from time to time by the communities”.
1. We have observed curiously in 2022/ 2023 that the DESOPADEC has become moribund, and the Oil Producing Areas/Communities are nose-diving into abject poverty, which is inciting and causing youths restiveness and agitation in their various Communities hence we have decided to take necessary steps to address this issue.
2. From the records available to us upon an application to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account to the Delta State Government between 2015 – 2022, the sum of N1,077,450,285,552.17 (ONE TRILLION, SEVENTY-SEVEN BILLION, FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION, TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-TWO NAIRA, SEVENTEEN KOBO) has been disbursed to the Delta State Government from July 2015 to December 2022, for the Rehabilitation and Development of the oil Producing Communities/Areas in Delta State. In fact what Okowa received is far more than N1,077,450,285,552.17 if the 13% monthly allocations of January 2023 to May 2023 are added. See attached CTC
3. It is very disheartening and callous to note that despite the copious and unambiguous provisions of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 13 (1) of the DESOPADEC Law of 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015 and 2018 respectively, the immediate past Governor of Delta State His Excellency Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa has deliberately and flagrantly abused, violated and breached the above provisions of the Law and had continued to misappropriate the said funds for his personal use at the expense of the suffering people of the Oil and Gas Producing Communities in Delta State.
4. By section 13(1) of the DESOPADEC Law 2006 (as amended) 2007, 2015 and 2018, the commission is legally and lawfully entitled to 50% from the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account which is calculated at N538,725,142,776.85 (Five Hundred and Thirty-Eight Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Five Million, One Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Six Naira, Eighty-five Kobo) from the Delta State Government.
5. That from the information obtained, it is obvious that the Delta Government grossly underfunded the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission as it was in the habit of consistently and deliberately disbursing less than the sum of N20,000,000,000 (Twenty Billion Naira) only annually for the past Eight Years. This was confirmed by the immediate-past State commissioner for information to the former Governor, Mr Charles Aniagwu that the state remitted only 208bn against 538,725,142,776.085. See attached.
6. Sir, unfortunately all efforts by our communities’ leaders and other well-meaning personalities in Delta State to have the Delta State Government to obey, observe and comply with the DESOPADEC law and render account for the said misappropriated fund have proved abortive hence this petition.
7. It is very nauseating that despite the stupendous Billions of Naira being paid to the Delta State Government from the 13% oil derivation fund from the Federation Account, The Oil Producing Areas/Communities continue to wallow in abject poverty with no commensurate social amenities and infrastructures in place. This gross and reckless misappropriation of the 13% oil derivation fund meant for the Oil Producing Communities largely account for the incessant restiveness and agitations in the Niger Delta Region.
8. We are strongly appealing to the Commission saddled with the responsibility to probe and Investigate the immediate-past Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, to recover and return our money of the 50% of the 13% Oil derivation fund from the Federation Account to the State Government and render necessary Account for the said illegally and unlawfully misappropriated balance to DESOPADEC coffers, to enable them Development our communities.
9. It will interest the public to note that the immediate-past Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa used our 13% derivation funds to build and buy over 80% shares in Premium Trust Bank Plc and acquire numerous properties including Jace Darl Hotels in Asaba, the state capital, Abuja and Lagos etc for himself and his daughter, Mrs Mariyln Okowa-Daramola.
10. The Immediate-past Governor, Senator, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa went further to use our 13% derivation funds to develop his village which is not part of oil producing communities in Delta State, with proposed plans to Re-named state institution in his honour particularly (University of Delta, Agbor, Delta State)
11. There will be relative peace and development in the Niger Delta Region if the stupendous oil funds which accrue to the oil producing Areas/Communities from the 13% Oil derivation Fund are judiciously used for the rehabilitation and development of the Oil Producing Areas/Communities.
Conclusion: We want to strongly appeal to your indefatigable commission to kindly reject any offer from the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa who has boosted to have made concrete arrangement with top officials of the EFCC for a plea bargain to the detriment of the oil and gas producing Communities of the State.
Sir, it is in view of the above, we appeal to your good Office for your prompt intervention to diligently probe and investigate the allocations and the deployment of our 13% oil derivation funds accrued and disbursed to the Delta State Government from the Federation Account from 2015–2023 with paid attention to the 50% of the 13% oil derivation fund prescribed by the DESOPADEC law of 2006 (as amended), 2007, 2015 and 2018 respectively.
We offer our thanks in anticipation of your kind cooperation. Sir.
Chief (Comrade) Mulade Sheriff
(Ijaw Ethnic Nationality)
The Ibe-sorimowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom.
Sir Mathew Itsekure
(Itsekiri Ethnic Nationality)
Mrs Patience Ego Afujue
(Ndokwa Ethnic Nationality)
Hon Mark Ikpuri
(Urhobo Ethnic Nationality)
Chief John Etenero
(Isoko Ethnic Nationality)