BY Emma Amaize
WARRI—A Delta State High Court sitting in Warri, has adjourned till September, further hearing in the N1 billion suit by Itsekiri host communities, against alleged diversion of funds for developmental projects in Itsekiri oil communities by Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC.
Prince Ikenwoli Emiko (chair, Itsekiri Host Communities) and Godwin Omamogho, who filed the case for themselves and Itsekiri oil and gas producing communities, claimed that the commission improperly expended the money on the provision of infrastructure in Nigeria Police Barracks, Warri, a federal establishment and Warri Club, a private recreation outfit.
The case is before Justice Marshal Umukoro. The plaintiffs are contending that DESOPADEC, a state government intervention agency, charged with the responsibility of utilising 50 per cent oil and gas 13 per cent derivation funds for provision of developmental projects in oil producing communities diverted the funds meant for the development of Itsekiri area.
They argued that by using funds meant to ameliorate the sufferings of oil producing communities on the Federal Government and private projects, the palpable understanding was that DESOPADEC had taken back the little gains of the oppressed oil- bearing communities.
They are consequently demanding N850 million and N100 million respectively as funds meant for Itsekiri oil communities that were expended on projects, which obviously did not fall within the ambit of the statutory functions of the defendant.
They are also praying the court to declare that the use of funds meant for infrastructural development of Itsekiri oil producing communities on federal and private projects was illegal, unlawful, and amount to a flagrant deprivation of the plaintiffs’ communities and violation of the law setting up the commission.
They also want the court to order that the monies expended on such illegal projects be accounted for and refunded for the development of Itsekiri oil producing communities.