The Delta State Government has been issued a seven-day ultimatum to reverse or abolish the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission (DESOPADEC) Bill passed by the State House of Assembly and recently signed into law by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
At a press briefing organised by leaders and representatives of oil producing communities, drawn from the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo and Isoko ethnic nationalities in Warri, Chief Mrs Rita-Lori Ogbebor, said the oil producing communities in Delta State have been denied their rights since the introduction of the derivation principle.
Chief Ogbebor explained that the principles of derivation remained clear that 13 percent of the revenue accruing to the federation account from any natural resources shall be allocated to the oil bearing communities.
She further noted that the Delta State Government has not done much for the oil producing communities, despite the nearly N5 Billion monthly derivation fund the state has received for over 16 years.
She warned that the oil producing communities would institute a criminal action against the Delta State Government in the Court of law, if the Bill and Law passed by the House of Assembly and signed by the state governor respectively is not urgently reversed.
On Tuesday, Governor Okowa signed the DESOPADEC amendment bill into law emphasising that the new law would also allow the establishment of a Management team for DESOPADEC to meet with the expectations for which the commission was initially established.
The Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has signed the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) amendment bill into law.
The bill was signed on Tuesday by the Governor in the presence of the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Honourable Monday Igbuya and the Deputy Speaker, Honourable Friday Osanebi, principal officers of the House and the Secretary to the State Government, Honourable Festus Ovie Agas.
While commending members of the Delta State House of Assembly for their proactive approach to law making, Governor Okowa said the new law would help tackle the challenges of oil producing communities in the state.
The Governor emphasised that the new law would also allow the establishment of a Management team for DESOPADEC to meet with the expectations for which the commission was initially established and to impact positively on the lives of the people in terms of infrastructural development, social services and economic services.
The Speaker, who presented the bill to the Governor for his assent at the Government House, said that the bill was properly looked into by members of the House in spite of all the controversies that surrounded the presentation of the bill.
The new DESOPADEC law generated a lot of interest when the bill was presented to the House of Assembly by the state Governor until the Delta State House of Assembly took the bill to public hearing, where Deltans made their contributions to enrich the bill in the best interest of Delta State and the oil producing communities in particular.