By Akpos Oghenetega,
The All Progressive Congress, APC, Delta State chapter has called on the Delta State House of Assembly to probe Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa led government over the issue of the alleged missing N48.6billion accrued funds of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
The party in a press release signed by its state chairman, Prophet Joes Erue, quoted the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Charles Aniaguw to have said; “the money was deducted to service several financial debts and commitments of the state government.”
He added that Governor Okowa attempted to scoff off the allegations by APC as with excuse that they are servicing loans and contractual agreement, stressing that, going by this admission by the governor’s spokesperson; it therefore means that the fund accrued to the agency might have been misappropriated by the Governor.
The APC Chairman stated also that if Governor Okowa has acted in clear breach of his duties and responsibility to the citizens of Delta State, and particularly the oil-producing areas under the extant laws of Delta State that established DESOPADEC, the State House of Assembly must act in public interest and probe the extent of the breach of the law.
According him; “Part V, Section 20 (Expenditure of the Commission) clearly states that the funds of the Commission shall be applied in the interest of Oil Producing Areas only, and it makes no case whatsoever for the intrusion, diversion or misappropriation by the Governor of the derivation funds for payment of accrued debts of the state.
Noting that, the claim by Okowa that his government has diverted the funds to “service several financial debts and commitments of the state government” is not tenable under DESOPADEC Law, 2015.”
“Governor Okowa has acted with impunity against the law. By consciously abandoning the vested interests of oil-producing areas and diverting the funds meant for addressing its development needs, which in turn helps to curb agitation and hostilities, the Okowa’s so-called “SMART” agenda can be deduced as shrewd, mean, appalling, reckless and terrible. In fact, this action has deepened the poverty within the communities and further impoverished the long-suffering people of oil producing areas in Delta State.”
Prophet also asked if starving of DESOPADEC of funds was not a “hidden ploy” to incite militancy and kidnappings, thereby frustrating the effort of the federal government at securing the much-needed peace within the region.
He sated also that Okowa, “has failed on grounds of fiscal responsibility and in his constitutional duty to sustain peace and security in Delta state. He has also failed morally in upholding the principal tenets of equity and distributive justice.
“We therefore call on Delta State House of Assembly to commence an urgent probe of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in order to account for the missing DESOPADEC N48.6 BILLIONS, and to review this action as being one of the triggers of the recurring crisis in the oil producing areas.
“Should the State House of Assembly decline their responsibility to institute a probe, we would conclude that they are hands in gloves with Governor Okowa in the suppression of the people of Delta State.
“Lastly, we urge deprived Deltans to unite, irrespective of political persuasions, against Governor Okowa’s selfish, careless and wasteful agenda. Deltans must rise as one determined family to challenge the inept and visionless misrule of Governor Okowa and his PDP government now, and in preparation for throwing them out in 2019.”