The hearing in the case brought against the immediate past governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and his predecessor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan over the N1.8 trillion Naira of 13% oil derivation funds to oil-producing communities of the state, has begun in the High Court, Warri.
The Oil and Gas Producing Communities of Delta State recently dragged the two former Governors, the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and the Attorney General of the State to High Court, Warri, for the interpretation of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 13 (1) of the DESOPADEC Law 2006 (as amended) 2007, 2015 and 2018 respectively, and account for over N1.8 trillion Naira of 13% oil derivation funds to the oil-producing communities.
Renowned human and development advocate, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, who is spearheading the matter on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, after the start of the hearing of the case reiterated the reason he and his people are pursuing the case.
Representatives of Itsekiri, Ndokwa and Isoko Ethnic Nationalities have also filed to join the suit seeking interpretation and accountability of 50% of 13% oil derivation fund to Delta State under former Governors, DESOPADEC and Attorney General of the State.
Mulade stated that the immediate past State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, confirmed to Arise TV that former Governor Okowa remitted only N208billion against 538,725,142,776.085,” which means that over 330bn Naira oil and gas producing Communities of Delta State is missing, therefore we demand accountability”.
While responding to questions from journalists, the former chairman of oil rich Kokodiagbene Community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of the State, asserted that; “We are not going to be distracted by hired political sycophancy, who are trying to bring political coloration and other primordial sentiments to instigate the gullible public to undermine the genuine demands to know how our resources are being spent. We are for accountability and transparency and we are prepared to use our last drop of blood to fight for a better deal for our suffering people who are supposed to be enjoying the funds from their natural resources.
“It is worthy of note that what we are fighting for is to recover our missing funds and equally free the state from the claws of the immediate past Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa to enable our amiable Governor, His Excellency, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori administration to be independent and deliver on his electoral mandate and promises to Deltans through his M.O.R.E Agenda.
“It is unfortunate to state that based on available records, our dynamic Governor Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori met an empty treasury and some of the Delta State Accounts have less than a billion naira which has forced the state government to borrow huge sum of money in less than one month in office under the guise of settling local government pensioners in the state.”
Meanwhile, the court has adjourned till October 24, 2023, for further hearing in the case.
It would be recalled that the Delta State-born Environmentalist, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, recently mobilized oil and gas producing communities in the State to the Headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja, imploring the commission to investigate and recover their missing and misappropriated funds back to DESOPADEC to enable the state commission carry out developmental projects in the host communities.