The 2016 budget of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission released by the state government is now causing tension in Warri as aggrieved Ijaw ethnic nationality yesterday protested the alleged injustice and marginalization of the Ijaws in the budget.
They accused the Chairman and the Managing Director of the Commission of avarice and lopsidedness, particularly in the allocations of projects in the centralized budget.
The leader and stakeholders of Ijaw Oil and Gas producing communities therefore said they were rejecting the injustices and marginalization of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the 2016 budget of the Commission and similar acts by the state government because of alleged outrageous lopsidedness in the 2016 budget of the board.
The protesters, in a statement made available to newsmen in Warri, Delta State accused the leadership of DESOPADEC as well as members of the State House of Assembly of not following the laws establishing the Commission by allocating projects to the different ethnic host communities in line with their quantum production.
The statement which was signed by Bishop Dr. Samson Amajene (JP), President, Gbaramatu Kingdom and Comrade Morrison Anuwo, President, Egbema Kingdom, the leaders and stakeholders of Ijaw Oil Producing Communities, also noted that they had earlier raised an alarm against the lopsidedness and injustice perpetrated against the Ijaw Ethnic nationality, which produces 27% of Oil and Gas resources in the state.
They added that as soon as they got wind of the gross marginalization of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the budget, they wrote an open letter to the State Governor, Sen (Dr) Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa.
According to the statement, “In the said open letter, we accused the Chairman and the Managing Director of the Commission of avarice and lopsidedness, particularly in the allocations of projects in the Centralized Budget, in which the Chairman’s Itsekiri ethnic nationality was allocated projects worth over N1.7 billion while the Managing Director’s Urhobo ethnic group got projects worth N572 million.
Sadly, the group lamented that instead of addressing the lopsidedness and injustice perpetrated against the Ijaw Ethnic nationality, which produces 27% of Oil and Gas resources in the state, Governor Okowa kept a disturbing silence, allowing some people in the Commission and House of the Assembly to carry out the nefarious act unhindered
The leaders and stakeholders of Ijaw Oil and Gas producing communities wonder why out of 73 new centralized projects in the 2016 DESOPADEC Budget amounting to N4,004,103,844, only two projects were allocated to Ijaw areas, while 41, amounting to N2,141,846,725, were allotted to Urhobo areas and Ndokwa has a total of 18 projects amounting to N620,000,000.