By Ochuko Akuopha
OLEH—A group, Delta Elite Movement, DEM, has urged Delta State Government to set up a committee to audit Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC’s account in line with projects executed since its inception and probe those found wanting.
It lamented that the commission had failed to live up to its expectation of utilizing 50 percent of the 13 percent oil derivation fund accruing to the state in the rehabilitation and development of oil producing areas “as well as carry out other development projects as may be determined from time to time.”
Noting that “the oil producing areas which include Itsekiri, Ijaw, Urhobo, Isoko and Ndokwa, have been left undeveloped,” the group, in a statement by its President, Enis Ogegere said: “It is no news that since its creation, several billions of naira have been budgeted as the annual budgets of the commission but what the oil producing areas have to show for those billions are a few watery and abandoned projects of no economic importance to the state.
“For instance, DESOPADEC budgets in 2013 and 2014 amounted to N37 billion and N39 billion respectively. This means that about N240 billion has found its way through the commission on the average of N30 billion annual budget since inception till 2014. However, it is grossly irresponsible on the part of the commission as it has failed to account for this huge amount of money.”
“No wonder the state’s House of Assembly found it difficult to accept the commission’s budgets for 2015/2016, making DESOPADEC to operate a zero budget for these two years. The commission, which alleges that it can no longer pay salaries of staff, still has its board members living luxuriously at the expense of the core mission of the commission.”