Delta Oil and Gas Stakeholders Group has lamented the non-passage of the 2016 budget of the Delta State Oil-Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) six months after it was presented to the Delta State House of Assembly.
The group, in a statement signed by its president and secretary, Dr John Tagbiretse and Josiah Ebidenwi and made available to InsideNigerDelta in Warri, Delta State, contended that the state government was to render the board of the commission toothless.
“The reason for the comatose state of DESOPADEC is not far fetched: the non-passage of the 2016 Budget of the commission, with barely four months to the end of the year does not augur well.
“If the government is organized and sincere and the House of Assembly is effective, the 2017 budget would have been in the final stage of its development.
“Conversely, it is a shame of colossal magnitude that the 2016 DESOPADEC budget is still ‘lost in transit’.
“The most painful part of the debacle is that as of today, nobody knows what the budget looks or how much is contained therein.
“Nobody knows if the N28b budget presented to the House in March remains or if it has been changed and how it has been altered.
“Nobody is able to account for its whereabouts today,” the group alleged.
The group warned that the state government’s attitude towards oil-producing communities might prepare the ground for restiveness in the near future if steps were not urgently taken to halt every hostility against the commission.
“For the purpose of emphasis, we want to warn that this present administration’s action towards oil-bearing communities is preparing the ground for restiveness and insurgence of a proportion that might become uncontainable.
“As a group with grassroots members drawn from all oil producing communities, we feel the tempo and temperature of the youths and the prognoses are dire.
“The long-suffering people of these communities will not sit down, fold their hands and allow their only hope of development to be taken away without a fight.
“The state government must address troubling marginalisation and deliberate stagnation of DESOPADEC before an ill wind erupts and consume us all,” the group warned.