Delta State House of Assembly in Focus

By Nelson Ekujumi

The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Monday Igbuya has assured oil producing communities in the state that the DESOPADEC 2016 budget presently before the house will be thoroughly examined in order to accommodate all their interest.

Assembly Correspondent, Nkem Nwaeke reports that the Speaker gave the assurance while addressing two different groups who staged a peaceful protest to the state legislature over some issues of concern in the 2015 and 2016 budget of DESOPADEC.

The two protesting groups were the Delta State Chapter of Host Communities of Nigeria Led by it Chairman, Dr Peter Egedegbe and Flowstation Well-Head Host Communities of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri Southwest led by Comrade Sheriff Mulade.

The Speaker represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Desopadec, Hon Dennis Omovie said the house will ensure that the interest of oil producing communities were accommodated in the budget.

He said Desopadec was an interventionist agency established to carter for the development needs of oil producing communities, stressing that the commission will not do otherwise.

Hon Igbuya said the protest was premature, adding that the House was yet to look into the budget sent to it last week for necessary legislative action, maintaining that budget is an instrument of law that passes through a process and the 2016 DESOPADEC budget cannot be an exception.

He stated that every Deltan has an interest but must do so within the ambit of the law, advising against putting the cart before the Horse.

Hon Igbuya however commended them for the peaceful protest and assured that the House would consider the interest of all stakeholders without neglecting the mandate of the commission.

The protesters had besieged the State House of Assembly complex, Asaba in protest against the 2016 budget of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, frowning at the non accountability of N16 billion in the 2015 budget of the commission

The State Chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria, Dr Peter Egedegbe and National Coordinator, Prince Maikpobi Okareme, said projects sited outside the oil and gas producing communities should be de-emphasized and called for full implementation of the 2015 budget as passed especially projects that have been designed for which tender documents have been prepared and ready for distribution.

They stressed the need for higher provision for capital expenditure than recurrent.

Speaking on behalf of the Flowstation Wellhead Host Communities of Gbaramatu kingdom, Comrade Sheriff Mulade condemned the moves by Desopadec to impose projects on the host communities, stating that the plan to divert the allocation accruing to the host communities to build a modular refinery in their area was not the priority of the people.

Comrade stressed the need to capture the priority needs of the people in the 2016 Desopadec budget as proposed to the commission, advising that the Desopadec should stop embarking on unrealistic programs and projects as well as address the lopsided employment policy which they alleged had shortchange the Ijaw nationalities.

The documents containing the demands of the protesters were handed over to the representative of the Speaker, Hon Dennis Omovie flanked by Hon Dan Yingi, Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Oil and Gas and member of Desopadec committee.