Itsekiri Group Petitions EFCC Over DESOPADEC Pipeline Surveillance Contract
…Accuses former Commissioner Ejele Of Misappropriating Project Funds
– An Itsekiri group, Iwere Development Association, (IDA), has accused the Commissioner representing Itsekiri nation in the board of DESOPADEC, Mr. Michael Diden (aka Ejele), of embezzling pipeline surveillance contract funds meant to employ over 1,500 youths from Itsekiri land.
Addressing newsmen in Warri, Delta State, on Sunday, the President of the group, Comrade Omolubi Newuwumi, who doubles as Commissioner for Youth Development in the state, alleged that funds for the first phase of the project meant to employ over 1,500 youths from Itsekiri land were misappropriated.
His allegations came amid moves to re-award the controversial contract to the former council chairman of Warri North, Ejele, who according to the group, had allegedly enriched himself with the project funds.
IDA alleged that Ejele had not represented Itsekiri interest in the execution of the project, saying not even a single Itsekiri was employed while the contract lasted.
The group therefore urged the Federal Government to discontinue the re-award of multi-billion naira Nigerian Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) pipeline surveillance contract to the Itsekiri youth leader.
The group also called on the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC), to investigate the allegation against Diden who is a member representing Warri North in the Delta state House of Assembly.
The group also alleged that the contract recipient who was the Commissioner representing Itsekiri nation on the board of DESOPADEC, was responsible for the under development of Itsekiri communities and its people both politically and economically.
In an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, a copy of which was made available to THEWILL, the group said while other beneficiaries of the contract from other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta region were busy impacting positively on their land and people, Ejele who is an Itsekiri representative in the pipeline surveillance contract was busy acquiring fleets of cars and multi-million naira landed properties in major cities across the country.
“I’m writing this letter based on my conviction on what the Itsekiri nation has suffered, and I’m saying ‘Enough is enough’ for few individuals to continue enriching themselves with our collective wealth which God has given us.”
“This open letter has become necessary based on recent attempt to re-award the NNPC pipeline surveillance contract in Delta State to a surveillance company where Mr. Michael Diden represents the Itsekiri interest again.”
“The first phase of the contract which was also awarded to him was meant to employ and engage more than 1,500 Itsekiris, but to our dismay, the gesture of the government for the people never materialised because of the greed of one single person.”
“He did not only misappropriated the money meant for the contract, he failed also to employ one single youth from Itsekiri Nation.”
“In DESOPADEC, Mr Diden misappropriated money meant for the development of Itsekiri communities and empowerment of its people, especially the youths just like the surveillance contract given to him by the Federal Government.”
“He was also given a similar job by the Delta state government through DESOPADEC before his appointment as part of government’s attempt to reduce youth restiveness, but was thwarted by greed to enrich himself,” the statement. Mr Omolubi stated.