Court Reopens N300b Oil Producing Communities Case Against Delta State Government

A High Court sitting in Warri, Delta state will tomorrow adopt final written addresses on the over N300billion law suit instituted against Delta state Government by oil producing communities in Delta state.
The case which was instituted in 2014 with Suit No: HCY/16/2014 during the tenure of immediate past Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and former State Assembly Speaker, Rt Hon Victor Ochei had unnecessary long adjournments with about four different judges sitting over it under the period.
According BigPen the current judge handling the case is the fourth among the series of judges who have sat over the matter.
The case was instituted by former PDP but now APC chieftain, Chief Godwin Ogbetuo and former Secretary of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, (TROMPCON), Prince Maikpobi Okareme, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri and Akakasi Oghenejabor Sunday who are the principal claimants for themselves and on behalf of oil producing communities of Delta state.
The Executive Governor of Delta state, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Attorney General of the state as well as Accountant General of Delta state are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.
In the originating summons brought by the claimants which was obtained by BigPen Online on Monday, they are praying the court to interpret Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2007 and for the determination of the following questions and relief:
1. Whether the 1st Dependent (The Executive Governor of Delta state) and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dependents are legally bound to observe and comply with the provision of Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state , 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 respectively.
2. Whether in view of the provisions of Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state , 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 respectively the 1st Dependent (The Executive Governor of Delta state) and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dependents are legally bound to comply with the provision of the said Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 respectively.
The Applicants, in view that the questions for determination are resolved or answered in their favour are seeking the following relief:
a. A Declaration that the acts and/or omission of the 1st Dependent in collaboration with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dependents not to comply with the express provisions of Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 respectively is unlawful, null and void.
b. A Declaration that all budgets or appropriation Bills or Laws and/or allocation funds to the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) should reflect and make provisions for 50%(Fifty Percent) of the expected 13%(Thirteen Percent) of the derivation funds due to Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) for the benefit of the oil producing communities of Delta state.
c. An Order compelling the Defendants to comply with the provisions of Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 respectively to wit by paying the outstanding monetary sum due to Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) from the first inception of the Law till date.
d. An Order compelling the Defendants, particularly the 1st and 4th Dependents to comply strictly with the express provisions of Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015.

After adoption of written addresses from both parties, the court would adjourned again and fix a date for ruling on the matter whether the over N300 billion that was allegedly misapplied as at 2015, plus the current shortfall can be retrieved for the benefit of oil producing communities.
Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 which the claimants seek the court to interpret provide as follows:
“That the Commission shall receive and administer exclusively the 50% of the 13% oil derivation fund accruing to the Delta state Government for:
a. Rehabilitation and development of the oil producing areas in the state and;
b. Others development projects, as may be determine from time to time”.
Investigation however revealed that during immediate past administration of Uduaghan, the state government had tried in 2015 to comply with the Section 13 (1) of the Delta state Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Law of Delta state, 2006 as amended in 2007 and 2015 by releasing over N45 billion to DESOPADEC against the N35 billion that was the average because expected derivation fund then was N90 billion then but Okowa administration arbitrarily slashed it far below what was released then to about N25million for the past three years running, a source privy to the development told BigPen Online.

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE POOR STATE OF AFFAIRS, INCOMPETENCE, LACK OF CAPACITY AND FRAUDULENT BUDGET PROCESS IN DELTA STATE.

APC demands EFCC’s investigation of Okowa over alleged $10m laundering

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