June 14, 2017

New Delta Avengers may not be Deltans —Delta govt


Gov. Okowa

By Festus Ahon

ASABA—DELTA State Government, yesterday, said that members of the New Delta Avengers threatening to resume attacks on oil installations by the end of this month may not be from the state, insisting that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration was not despotic in its actions.

Reacting to the threat by the militant group, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Charles Aniagwu, at a media briefing in Asaba,  said that Governor Okowa was committed to the development of oil bearing communities and all other parts of Delta State within the limits of available resources.

Explaining that it was not true that Okowa was despotic in his actions, Aniagwu said the governor paid respect to all the local governments, federal constituencies and senatorial districts in the state in political appointments and siting of projects.

Noting that the state government budgets had always reflected all the 25 local government areas of the state, he said that the state empowerment programmes also cut across all ethnic groups.

He added that it was not true that the governor was funding a particular group to the detriment of others.

On the funding of the State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Aniagwu said that the commission was key to the government and could not afford to starve it of funds.

According to him, the commission was restructured and modelled after the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, adding that the governor does not intend to whittle down the powers of DESOPADEC.

Noting that Okowa came into office at a time when the price of oil was at its lowest, Aniagwu explained that the commission was embarking on projects contrary to rumours making the rounds.

He said,  “If indeed this new group is desirous of having government to develop the creeks, if it is desirous of having us live in peace, if it is desirous of having us protect the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters who live in these oil bearing communities.

“They cannot be talking about bloodbath because, bloodbath will affect most likely those who live in that environment much more than anyone else and so, you cannot begin to raise arms against those that you claim to protect.

“If indeed their desire is for the development of the creeks, we cannot take actions that is capable of further polluting the creeks; if indeed their actions is to bring prosperity to the people of the oil bearing communities, you cannot go and destroy the infrastructure that will bring dividends of democracy to our brothers and sisters who live in these areas.”