Niger Delta group seeks probe of frozen N2.1b development fund

Head, Foreign/Offshore Operations Department, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Raymond Brown (left); Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd) and Technical Assistant, Major Abdul Matti (rtd); during a press conference on the returnee Nigerians from the Belarusian State University in Abuja… PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

Youths and women in the Niger Delta have appealed to the Federal government to investigate the N2.1b Itsekiri Development Council Fund frozen by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).

They disclosed that the funds were deposited in seven accounts under an unregistered company named IRDC, which was frozen upon being discovered by the police.

They appealed to the Attorney General of the Federation to intervene in the matter by instituting a judicial enquiry to unravel the alleged misappropriation of the funds meant for the development of the communities.

Lamenting the matter has lingered for over a year, they pleaded that the money should be used to develop and salvage communities that have been grossly marginalized due to corruption and embezzlement of the funds.

The concerned youths and women, who were led by Mrs. Rita Lori Ogbebor stated this when they visited the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Ogbebor in a petition to Malami called for proper investigation into the circumstances surrounding the discovery and freezing of the accounts by the police.

She accused leaders of Itsekiri communities and other oil producing areas of manipulating and sharing the oil revenue accrued to the people.She also lamented that government had been depriving the oil communities their dues in the revenue sharing formula through the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) contrary to the laws establishing the agency.

Ogbebor stressed that some contracts were awarded but were never executed and that the perpetrators only engage in luxurious lifestyles with the proceeds of abandoned contracts.

“Chevron and Shell have signed different memoranda with us in the Warri Kingdom and for years, some of our leaders have manipulated, taken and shared the money among themselves with impunity,’’ she alleged.

Ogbebor added that DESOPADEC was most guilty, given that it collects between N50 and N100 million monthly from the oil companies on behalf of the oil-bearing communities, explaining that the Delta State government does not even pay the 50 percent which its own law stipulates.

Responding, Malami assured the aggrieved indigenes that the ministry would soon commence a thorough investigation of the alleged misapplication of funds and would give attention to the petition to unravel the circumstances surrounding the N2.1bn funds.

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