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Published On: Tue, Feb 2nd, 2016

DESOPADEC Commissioner, Amitaye Working With Others to Stop Marginalisation of Urhobos

LAGOS FEBRUARY 2ND (URHOBOTODAY)-The Commissioner representing Sapele Okpe and Ethiope West Local Government Councils in the Delta State Oil producing Areas Commission DESOPADEC, Honorable Jonathan Okpako Amitaye has disclosed that he and the other Urhobo Commissioners in the board are working out modalities to stop the magalisation and the cheating of urhobos from Delta Centre, Warri South and Patani in the board, most especially in the areas of production quotum, staff salaries and allocation of funds.
He also disclosed that due to falling oil price and the economic situation of the country the commission may not be able to meet all of its obligations as regard to projects execution in the urhobo Oil bearing communities,
Amitaye who made this disclosure, when he held town hall meetings with the Oil producing Communities of his mandate areas, in Orerokpe, Oghara and Sapele explained that the essence of the town hall meetings which shall be held from time to time is to inform host communities of the operations of the Commission and also to rub mind with them in other to adopt the bottom to top approach.
Amitaye said he and his brothers (Urhobo commissioners) have come together to put a stop to the mergalization of Urhobos in the board, and short changing of Urhobos from oil producing Communities.
He explained that it is wrong for the commission to be paying staff salaries on tribal bases, adding that urhobos are made up of 70% of the commission and when you remove their salaries from the allocation coming to them there is nothing left for capital projects.
“I have never seen any Government establishment where salaries are paid on tribal bases so we have decided that everybody salaries should be paid on first count charge”
According to Amitaye who also said it is wrong for anybody to say that urhobos with 8 local Government councils, including those in warri south and Patani produce less oil and gas, while giving a little breakdown of the commission 2016 budget, as follows, itsekiri 2.5 billion naira, ijaw 2.7billion naira, isoko 1.1 billion, Ndokwa 636million, Urhobos with 8 local Government including the urhobos of Warri south and patani local Government Areas has the least of 489million which shall be shared for capital project among the 3 Urhobo Commissioners.
Amitaye faulted the 2007 quotum sharing formular which is being used up till date to allocate funds to the five ethnic groups saying the law establishing the commission as regard the quotum allocation formular states that it should be review on annual basis, “for the past eight years it has not been review” he clarified that they Urhobo Commissioners) are not fighting anybody or ethnic group “ we are all brothers but we believe Urhobo produce more oil and gas, so we want the production quotum sharing formula be review base on the law establishing the commission which says it should be review on annual bases but for the past eight years it has not been review” he therefore solicited the support and understanding of the people of Sapele, Okpe and Ethiope West on some of the chanllenges facing them in the commission and assured that contractors shall also be paid their long over due outstandings.
At Orerokpe Prince Godwin Ejiyere Chairman Okpe Local Government Council thanked Honourable Amitaye for the meeting and assured him the support of the people of Okpe. He however advised that the commissioner should be briefing them on the activities of the commission from time to time to avoid communication gap. Chief Dike Gberevie called for the construction of Ugolo/ Umaigheiwa and other roads in the area while Comrade Anthony Adam From Aghalakpe said that the supreme court has already decided that any oil 200 neutical miles off shore belongs to the federal Government “ so the riverine people whose oil is in the off shore cannot short change Urhobos” he suggested that a committee comprising host communities of Nigeria (HOSTCOM) and the commissioners being setup to look into the issue. Comrade Francis ileleji blamed Urhobo past commissioners of the board for the short changing of Urhobos and thanked the present ones for commencing the adgitation and said oil production changes from time to time, and therefore declared Ugolo Okpe total support for the agitation to stop the marginalization. Chief Robert Onome also made case for oil impacting communities since there are prone to environmental problems as well.
At Oghara Chief Vincent Atuma Vice Chairman Delta State Hostcon commended the commissioner by saying this is the first time their input or contribution is considered in the budgeting process of DESOPADEC he added that the Urhobos are the largest producers of Oil and Gas in Delta State “ since it is a known fact that the same oil well itsekiri claim is also being claimed by the ijaws” he noted that the palace of Ovie of Oghara should be constructed by Desopadec. Prince Matthew Adegpor and Chief Stephen Ikewun summitted document containing projects as demanded by Idjerhe Clan. Chief Femi Agbakoko chairman Ethiope West and Chief Stanley Sabodge said that most of the oil wells of ijaw and itsekiri are in the off shore high sea “ the Off shore and on shore dichotomy or ownership is clared by the supreme court judgement. The payment of staff salaries on ethnic bases is un acceptable we thank you for a job well done and we will join you in this agitation” Honurable Ben Igbakpa former member Delta state house of Assembly said that during his days in the house he was one of those who moved for the amendment of DESOPADEC law on the removal of the word ethnic nationality. “because it is affecting us Urhobos as a result of our homogenious nation so I am calling on the legislature and executive to see how this quotum thing can be properly manage, while in Sapele Honouable Amitaye responding to the request of Chief Anthony Amitaye chairman Ugbore Community that since his Ugborhen community produces large quantity of Oil the Community should have the highest project based on its production quotum. The DESOPADEC commissioner said that the commission has not done other wise rather, Project are executed on qoutum production bases as well he also assured that the Amukpe drainage shall be constructed while the Ugborhen farm where Women shall be trained in the area of farming shall be commissioned within the next two weeks assuring that women with at least Ordinary National Diploma (OND) shall be empowered and trained to train others. He also clarify that the Town Hall meetings was not to apportion blame but to rub mind with the people. He assured that project under the present board shall be done to specification. He also stress that when the forms of different traing programmes are out the people shall be informed. Honouable Amitaye vows to carry the people of Sapele along in the programmes and policies of DESOPADEC. Mrs Lizzy Irorhoakpor the state assistant woman leader of Delta State HOSTCOM and Sapele HOSTCOM chairman, Comrade Ekarekor commended the commissioner “ you started well we will support you but remember Sapele produces Oil and Gas yet the people are suffering”
They also added that they have not felt the impact of DESOPADEC in Sapele.
In an interview with News men Honourable Amitaye commended Urhobo traditional ruler in their position paper which they presented to the state Governor Senator Ifeanyi Okowa on the issue of the maginalisation of Urhobos in DESOPADEC.
He clarifies that the town Hall meetings is being embarked upon to know the needs of the people “even though we may not have the resources for now, as a result of the falling price of oil we now know their needs and an area of conflict is now resolved”. On the chanlleges of Oil production quotum and allocation of fund as it affects Urhobos, he explained that the present agitation is not to slight anybody “ it is the law. Production quotum is not static it beat our imagination that after 8 years the law has not been review when it is suppose to be review every year to determine the sharing formular. You cannot use the production quotum obtainable 8years ago, to determine the present situation it must be review that is the only way out”.

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