Itsekiri communities sue DESOPADEC over alleged N600m diversion

Emma Amaize

27 January 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI—ITSEKIRI oil-producing communities in Delta State, under the auspices of Host Communities of Oil and Gas Production of Nigeria (HOSTCOM) have dragged the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) before a Delta State High Court in Warri, for allegedly diverting N600 million meant for the development of the oil-devastated communities to extraneous projects.

Plaintiffs are Prince Ikenwole Emiko and God Omamogho on behalf of the Itsekiri chapter of HOSTCOM.
They are contending that “DESOPADEC diverted funds meant for Itsekiri devastated communities to building and renovating Nigeria Police Barracks in Warri and provision of infrastructure in Warri Club, a private recreation club.”

The Itsekiri communities want the court to declare that construction and renovation of the Police barracks and provision of infrastructure for a private recreation club do not fall within the ambit of the statutory functions of DESOPADEC, which principally was to utilise the 50 per cent of the oil and gas derivation funds, otherwise known as 13 per cent derivation fund, accruing to the Delta State Government from the national purse for development of infrastructure in oil-producing communities in the state.

They also want the court to hold that the use of the funds voted and meant for infrastructural development of Itsekiri oil producing communities on federal and private projects was “illegal, unlawful, amounts to a flagrant deprivation of the plaintiffs’ communities and violation of the law setting up the defendant.”

They also want the court to order that monies expended on such illegal projects be accounted for by DESOPADEC and refunded to the funds or vote meant for the development of Itsekiri oil-producing communities.

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