Oil And Gas Producing Communities Of Delta State Express Dissatisfaction With Okowa’s Slow Prosecution

Oil and Gas Producing Communities of Delta State have expressed their worriedness about the slow pace of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in prosecuting former Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa.

In a joint press briefing on Friday, the Group said the slow pace has given the impression that Senator lfeanyi Arthur Okowa and his cohorts are above the law and as such can neither be invited nor prosecuted.

The statement read, ”We once again welcome you all to this Press Briefing today having sometime last year precisely 22nd May 2023 drew the attention of the Nation to the deliberate efforts by the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa who govern the oil-rich state from 2015-2023 and received the 13% oil derivation funds for 8 years amounting to over #1.2 Trillion meant for the physical development of our Oil Producing Communities of Delta state, to truncate the arm of justice.

“We are constrained to do this briefing against the background of the graveyard silence on the matter before our indefatigable Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) even after a reminder letter was sent to the new Chairman of the Commission on the 30th of October 2023 and 12th January 2024. We have been inundated with daily arrogant comments and actions by the former Governor and his cohorts that midwife these alleged deliberate diversions of the funds meant for the development of host communities and reportedly boasting that they have settled top brass of EFCC, therefore they are powerless to invite and bring them to account for these funds for the benefit of the poor members of host communities.

“Though, we were invited by the Commission to the Zonal Office at Port Harcourt in Rivers State having received our petition to attest to it, and a subsequent reminder as earlier mentioned, we are worried about the slow pace which is giving the impression that indeed Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa and his cohorts are above the law and as such can neither be invited nor prosecuted.

“We are aware that within the arena of our laws, no one is above the law. We are therefore using this medium to draw the attention of the anti-graft agency to act swiftly in the interest of the downtrodden Oil and Gas Producing Communities in Delta State that are at the receiving end of negative environmental degradation because of oil exploration and exploitation activities which has destroyed our traditional occupation of fishing and crop farming with nothing tangible to show in our communities.

“It is worthy of note that for the interest of justice and members of our oil and gas producing communities, former Governor Ifeanyi Okowa should be invited to account for our monies as others like the ongoing investigation on the suspended Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs. Indeed we trust in the ability of the anti-graft agency, the EFCC to act, but the delay in taking action is very worrisome, creating the wrong impression, capable of giving more room for continuous diversion and misappropriation of the 13% Oil derivation funds.

“We wish to commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for his doggedness in confronting the monster called corruption in our dear Nation. We are compelled to appeal to Mr President to prevail on the anti-graft agency to act swiftly as this administration is poised to confront head-on this menace of corruption that is the bane of our development and has eating deep into the fabric of our DNA; doing so will continue to build confidence in our nation’s economy that will eventually pull us out of our present pitiable economic conditions.

The press statement was signed on behalf of the Association of Oil and Gas Producing Communities of Delta State by Chief Mulade B. Sheriff for Ijaw Ethnic Nationality, Sir Mathew Itsekure for Itsekiri Ethnic Nationality, Hon Mark Ikpuri for Urhobo Ethnic Nationality, Chief John Etenero for Isoko Ethnic Nationality, Comrade Osita Ijeoma for Dokwa Ethnic Nationality, Chief Godwin Ogbetuo for Vice Chairman, Delta State Elders Forum and Prince Maikpobi Okareme for Pioneer National Secretary TROMPCON.