Milking Of DESOPADEC As Workers Close Down Commission Over Non Payment Of Salaries, Entitlements, Squandering Of N2 Billion

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…Makinde Grabs Diesel Supply Deal For Cousin, Spends N240 Million In two Years

…..Commission Relocates Meeting To Lagos

Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), workers have closed down the commission’s Headquarters in Warri, as they protest over what they called non payment of over 10 months salaries, entitlements and the alleged squandering of N2 billion left in the coffers of the commission by its former chairman, Mr. Kpogho during the administration of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.

The placard carrying protesters with various inscriptions such as “We say no to clocking”, “ASP Lucas Medudu must Go”, “We need our salaries and allowance”, “Okowa is a big failure and disappointment.”, “Askia Ogieh is chronic criminal with history of looting public funds since his days as council chairman”, “Okowa come carry us oh!”, “Since 2010 no allowance no entitlements.”, “Ten years in DESOPADEC yet nothing”, “Makinde, Askia and co have killed DESOPADEC.” among others, vowed to continued the protest.

According to the protesters, the N2 billion left in the coffers of the commission by its former chairman, Mr. Kpogho was allegedly squander by the commission’s Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr. Askia Ogieh, the MD, Mr. Williams Makinde and other officials of the board.

Our correspondent gathered that the protest which commenced since Wednesday, had a policeman attached to the commission who was firing teargas canisters and gunshots at the protesters, and mistakenly shot a fellow policeman who is critically lying down at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara, headquarters of Ethiope West local government area of the state battling for survival.

A staff of the commission told our correspondent that the workers protest is the best thing that has ever happened to the commission lamenting that corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the commission, “until some of the corrupt board members are shown the way out, nothing good will happen in the commission. Corruption has eaten deep into the commission and until something serious and urgent is done there can never be any progress.”

Speaking during the protest, Chairman of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Employees Services (AUPCTRE), DESOPADEC Branch, John Ossah, condemned what he called “wicked” and inhuman attitude” of the management of the board towards the workers, stressing that “the staff have decided to shut down the commission and the protest will continue until the demands of the workers are answered to”.

“We have been reliably informed that governor Ifeanyi Okowa has released the cash for payment but the Executive Director Finance and Administration, Askia Ogieh has vehemently refused to pay. We are also been faced with lack of adequate medical facilities, non remittance of the tax deducted from staff salaries to the tax office, non payment of posting allowance to those posted out of the commission, and lack of office accommodation and so many other entitlements we have been denied.

“Since 2010 there has been no promotion in DESOPADEC, which is not supposed to be, there are a lot of benefits for us but the management are not looking at them. The management often complaint of paucity of funds to attend to issues concerning the workers but don’t do same when it concerns them.

“Whenever we talk about improvement in our condition of service, they tell us it is invalid but when it comes to their own, they will always want to play along, there are so many things they are deducting from us, we have bonus at the end of every year to be paid to each staff, they didn’t pay us till 2015.

“In 2016 they said there were no enough funds to go about it, we allowed them but in 2017 they failed again and say it is in the Government table, that they are trying to do something, we waited for long, until the entire staff resolved to say this is the only manner with which we can get our matter treated.” Ossah stated.

Also speaking, the Secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Employees Services (AUPCTRE), DESOPADEC Branch, Mr. Matthew Magege, gave reasons for the mass protest and the closing down of the commission by the workers.

“Why we shut down the commission is the non payment of staff salaries for ten months, stagnation of staff for over ten years and attendant arrears, non payment of bonuses as enshrined in the staff conditions of service since 2016, among other entitlements.”

Our correspondent learnt that the meeting between the Managing Director and representatives of the the Union, all the demands of the staff were brought before the Makinde led management team, instead of resolving the issues the Managing Director became confrontational and petty and the meeting deadlocked.

“This was the same step this incompetent board took in January, 2017 over the same demands. From the beginning of this board staff has observed that this board came to make staff standard of living worse than the previous boards. However they go about buying cars as gifts to staff in their offices. It is very unfortunate that the commission is bedeviled with this incompetent board members who see staff suffering and are happy and comfortable.” a union member said.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Mr. Williams Makinde has formally shut down the commission’s headquarters till further notice.

In a letter addressed to all staff and management, signed by the MD said the indefinite closure was as a result of what he called illegal and unauthorised protest by the workers over non payment of salaries and other entitlements which has gone violent and constitute threat to safety of lives and properties.

An impeccable source in the commission, confided in our correspondent that following the crisis, the commission has decided to relocate its board meeting to Lagos which will be held in a Hotel already booked for to the tune of N20 million, lodging accommodations, feeding, and transport fare, inclusive.

Investigation by HardReporters revealed that the commission’s Managing Director, Mr. William Makinde after several battles with the commission’s Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Askia Ogieh over who take control of the contract for the supply of diesel to the commission, awarded the juicy diesel supply contract to his cousin where N10 million is used monthly on diesel supply and in two the sum of N240 million has been wasted on supply of diesel in the commission.

“For more than two years the DESOPADEC Management team headed by Olorogun Williams Makinde has been spending N10 Million monthly on diesel supply to the commission amidst agitations by stakeholders for proper funding of the commission. The contract for the supply of diesel pitched Makinde against the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Askiah Ogieh as to who will be in charge of the juicy supply.

“The diesel supply is often from the road side which has led to the break down of the generating plants late last year. However, the battle was won by Makinde who used one of his siblings to grab the juicy job of supplying diesel to the three generating plants in the Commission. Because of the interest of Makinde, he has refused to replace the bad transformer and also to draw a 33KVA direct line from the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC which is far lesser than the money spent monthly on diesel.

“The board has spent over N100 million to relocate to the former Chevron Club in GRA Warri when its second acquired building is lying in waste and desolate and one of the board members has vested interest in that deal. At a time the board is always complaining of lack of funds, the commission has continued to pick up the bills of Waterways Security Committee running into billions of naira.” a source in the account department revealed.

When contacted, the commission’s MD, Williams Makinde and the Executive Director Finance and Administration of the commission, Mr. Askia Ogieh, rebuffed calls and messages put across to their mobile phones.

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