By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”MEMBERS of the oil and gas communities in Delta State, under the auspices of the Host Communities (HOSTCOM), yesterday asked Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) to publish its annual audited accounts to allow for autonomous enquiry into its expenditure.
HOSTCOMâ€™s Secretary, Delta State chapter, Dr. Kelly Ege, said in a statement in Warri that the host communities were aghast as to why the commission allegedly doled out a largesse of about N250 millionÂ to some members of Delta State House of Assembly to position themselves for another term in office.
This is coming on the heels of recent calls by DESOPADEC workers for a review of all contracts and supplies by the commission, alleging that over-invoicing had become a major drain pipe of the commissionâ€™s finances.
Dr. Ege condemned the purported largesse to the lawmakers, which the media spokesman to the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr Frankwhyte Osabohien, denied,Â saying there was need for the Commission to show prudence and accountability, as the host communities were now determined more than ever before to track DESOPADECâ€™s expenditure.
According to him, â€œthe concept of establishing DESOPADEC was not to dole out money like Father Christmas, but was borne out of a strong agitation by host communities in Delta state, occasioned by long neglect, marginalization and deprivation by governmentsâ€.
He noted that the agitators during that period included the present DESOPADEC Chairman, Chief Wellington Okirika, who was the national leader of the struggle and the aim was to carry out massive infrastructure and human capital development of the host communities.
Dr. Ege regretted that this concept was currently being deliberately misconstrued due to the greed and wicked act of some members of the commission.
The HOSTCOM secretary alleged that the moment Chief Okrika was sworn-in as the commissionâ€™s chairman, his attitude and character towards the institution that made him changed.
He said:Â â€œHe tried in so many ways to reduce the host communities to nothing and even went further to pay huge amount to some miscreants to destroy HOSTCOM, but for the able leadership of the national chairman of HOSTCOM, Dr. Alfred Bubor, he would have succeeded.â€