Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has stated that he is not against clamour by oil-producing communities to be given funds directly from the 13 per cent derivation fund.
Okowa, in a statement issued in Asaba at the weekend by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifejika, said he only wished the agitation should be holistic and collective.
The governor advised that the clamour should instead be targeted at getting the Federal Government to give oil-producing states more percentage of funds from the remaining 87 per cent shared across the country.
He noted that the law establishing the Delta State Oil-Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC), which empowered it to manage part of the 13 per cent derivation funds, was enacted long before he became Governor.
Okowa said that previous administrations administered the derivation funds in line with the law, which the present administration had not deviated from.
The statement read in part; “The law establishing DESOPADEC indicates that 50 per cent of the 13 per cent derivation fund shall be used by the commission for the purpose of development projects and programmes in oil-producing communities.
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“Governor Okowa in his characteristic forthrightness, which has ingratiated him to all Deltans, has continued to attend to issues concerning DESOPADEC according to the law.
“He is not opposed to communities agitating for the control of derivation funds; and for peace and progress of the state, the governor remains committed to ensuring that projects and other life-lifting infrastructure are evenly distributed in oil-producing communities.
“Since the present administration assumed office in 2015, the governor has carried out reforms to re-focus DESOPADEC, as an interventionist agency, to deliver life-changing infrastructure in the communities.
“As a matter of fact, the Okowa administration has treaded where others had dreaded, especially with the construction of over 20-kilometre roads criss-crossing the creeks, from Obotobo I, Obotobo II, Sokebulou, Yokiri in Ogulagha, Burutu Local Government Area to ongoing construction of Trans-Warri road, with 19 bridges.
“These audacious projects by Okowa in the coastal communities also include the Okerenkoko road in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West; Burutu township concrete road, with pavements, construction of new town in Oboghoro community in Warri North, the completed Ovwor-Effurun-Otor Bridge and ongoing construction of Ayakoromo Bridge,” he said.