By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor
Niger Delta NIGER-DELTA environmental rights activist, Mr. Sheriff Mulade, says riverine communities in Delta State would like Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the state House of Assembly to approve the establishment Coastal Areas Development Commission, CADA, in that state because Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, as presently constituted, was not serving oil producing communities but politicians.
Mulade, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard in an interview, said: “No, DESOPADEC is a far cry from CADA, their principles and thematic thrusts are different. CADA is deeper and incisive; it gets into the fabrics of the basic reason of its creation. Its ideals, characteristics, principles and what it would solve are basic fundamentals of life, which are quite revealing.”
He said the allusion that oil communities were asking for too much was misplaced, adding: “Well such insinuation and comparison with CADA may come up, especially when we want to be evasive of the needful. As stakeholders by virtue of being a native, we are very mindful of the sensitive nature of the riverine areas and so we weigh the odds in our desire to request what we envisage could fast track development.
“ DESOPADEC is a generalized bull, but again its concept from originality has taken the backstage and if we interrogate the system more carefully, which the coastal communities have done, Delta people, of which we are a part, will lend credence to such request as it is clear to many that it has departed from the norms.
“However, this may be our focus as we examine again your question. Let me be frank to state succinctly that DESOPADEC, as many of us see it presently, serves the government in power and our frontline politicians against the interest of oil producing communities.
“The agitators can state categorically that DESOPADEC has drifted from the original purpose for which it was established, that is, to develop oil producing communities of the state.
“Administrative imbalances lowered its objectivity and functionality. Even the staff of the commission could attest that they are not happy, besides the commission is limited and its coverage defined, but CADA, as conceptualized, is for the generality of the coastal communities”.
Mulade went on: “From available information, the Board and Management of DESOPADEC deviated from its original vision and mission by engaging in elephant projects to impress the government, instead of building physical structures in the oil producing communities that need urgent development.”
He insisted that oil communities were not fighting the government of the day with its demand.
The activist pointed out, “Across the globe, there is the prevalent request being echoed in various governments and organizations or whatever institutions put in place to lead the people to implore the principles of equity, fairness and justice. When we look at happenings in the areas we refer to as coastal communities, sad enough, we realize that the people in whatever style adopted to pacify them or make them live a good life appear to be nonexistent.