Court adjourns suit on Uduaghan, Okowa derivation fund till October 24
A Delta High Court sitting in Warri has adjourned the hearing of a suit filed by members of the oil and gas-producing communities in the state against two former governors, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and Dr Ifeanyi Okowa till October 24, 2023.
The plaintiffs had gone to court to compel the two former governors to give accounts of the 13 per cent oil derivation funds accruable to the state within the period that Uduaghan and Okowa were in office.
The aggrieved members of the oil and gas producing communities in Delta State, led by a renowned human and development advocate, Comrade Chief Sheriff Mulade, had recently staged a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja.
During the protest, Mulade and the group called on the EFCC to launch a probe and recover their missing and misappropriated funds back to Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) to enable the state commission to carry out developmental projects.
Mulade stated that he and his people were dragging the two former governors, DESOPADEC and Attorney General of the State to High Court, Warri for the interpretation of Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 13 (1) of the DESOPADEC Law 2006 (as amended) 2007, 2015 and 2018 respectively.
They also said that they want all the defendants to account for over N1.8 trillion Naira of 13% oil derivation funds to oil producing communities of Delta State.
At the resumed sitting on the case at the High Court, Warri on Tuesday, representatives of Itsekiri, Ndokwa and Isoko ethnic nationalities filed to join the suit seeking interpretation and accountability of 50 per cent of the 13 per cent oil derivation fund to Delta State under the two former governors.
The trial judge, Justice V.O. Agboje, on Tuesday thereafter adjourned the hearing of the suit till October 24 shortly after the case was mentioned in court.
While responding to questions from journalists shortly after Tuesday’s court session, the former chairman of oil the rich Kokodiagbene Community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West LGA of the State, Comrade Mulade noted that the immediate past Commissioner for Information in Delta State, Charles Aniagwu, confirmed to Arise TV that former governor Okowa remitted only N208bn against N538,725,142,776.085.
“We are not going to be distracted by hired political sycophancy, who are trying to bring political coloration and other primordial sentiments to instigate the gullible public to undermine the genuine demands to know how our resources are being spent,” Mulade affirmed.
“We are for accountability and transparency and we are prepared to use our last drop of blood to fight for a better deal for our suffering people who are supposed to be enjoying the funds from their natural resources.
“It is worthy of note that what we are fighting for is to recover our missing funds and equally free the state from the claws of the immediate-past governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to enable our amiable Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration to be independent and deliver on his electoral mandate and promises to the Delta people through his M.O.R.E Agenda.
“It is unfortunate to state that based on available records, Governor Oborevwori met an empty treasury and some of the Delta State accounts have less than a billion naira which has forced the State Government to borrow a huge sum of money in less than one month in office under the guise of settling local government pensioners in the state.”
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