Host Communities Oil and Gas, HOSTCOM again took their protests to the Delta State House of Assembly complex, Asaba to protest against the 2016 budget of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, and demanding that the state account for the N16 billion funds in the 2015 budget of the commission.
Led by its State Chairman, Dr Peter Egedegbe and National Coordinator, Prince Maikpobi Okareme, the protesters besieged the Assembly in over six buses at about 9:30am, and said projects sited outside the oil and gas producing communities should be de-emphasized.
In its protest letter addressed to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, and made available to Jungle Journalist, HOSTCOM called for the “full implementation of the 2015 budget as passed,especially projects that have been designed for which tender documents have been prepared and ready for distribution”.
It also spoke on the need for higher provision for capital expenditure than recurrent, and advised the Assembly to stop deliberation on the 2016 budget until the anomalies were attended to.
It also alleged that 2015 budget was never fully implemented, “all budget figures for 2015 budget were cleverly omitted to short-changed the host communities especially in the capital budget.”
Speaking to the protesters, chairman House Committee on DESOPADEC in the State House of Assembly, Chief Dennis Omovie described the protest as premature, since the budget has not been discussed by the House as it was only sent last week for necessary legislative action.
Omovie said; “a budget is an instrument of law that passes through a process and the 2016 DESOPADEC budget cannot be an exception”, stating that it was not not the place of Host Communities to tell the House who to do its work.
He said; “DESOPADEC as an interventionist agency, every Deltan has an interest but most do so within the ambit of the law,” advising against putting the cart before the Horse”.
He however commended them for the protest and assured that the House would consider the interest of all stakeholders without neglecting the mandate of DESOPADEC.
Recall that the Itsekiri HOSTCOM had last week protested against the provision of N600 million security votes in the 2016 budget of the commission.
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