A group of youths in Uzere community under Isoko South Local Government Area in Delta State have disagreed with the town’s leadership over how a N20m skills acquisition fund donated by the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company should be spent.
Our correspondent gathered that the money, which was released to the community by the oil firm as skill acquisition fund, have been allegedly hijacked by leadership of the community, thereby creating rancour among both parties in the area.
Following the situation, the Isoko South Security Council ordered the immediate suspension of the community’s 2019 annual mid-year conference to avoid any form of breakdown of law and order.
In a statement signed by the secretary of the organisation, Dennis Obrogo, there are ongoing efforts to address the situation.
Obrogo said, “The Isoko South Local Government will summon an enlarged meeting of the various stakeholders and leaders of thought in Uzere community to resolve the issues generated by the skill acquisition fund.”
It was gathered that the community’s President-General, Felix Ewenede, was few weeks ago arrested and granted bail over the matter.
He was asked to release the N20m to the youth for the skill acquisition programme to take place but he refused.
Speaking on the issue, leader of youths in the community, Frank Adaka, said the release of the fund will go a long way in empowering many of them with relevant skills to fend for a living.
He said, “NPDC gave the community youths N20m for skills acquisition but the community President-General in connivance with one Colombus Oguname diverted the money into their private bank accounts.
“A while ago, the sum of N120m was paid by an oil company into the community’s account and the President-General working in connivance with some corrupt and fraudulent individuals diverted and embezzled over half of the money.
“They must be brought to book and we call on the state government and security agencies to come to our aid.”
But when contacted over the issue, Ewenede denied the allegations, insisting that some disgruntled youths in the community were the ones unnecessarily creating tension because they want to mismanage the N20m skills fund given to the community by NPDC.
He said, “There is nowhere in the constitution of the community that empowers youths to handle money.
“To avoid trouble, we decided to bring in a contractor who will handle the skills acquisition but the youths insisted that the money must be handed over to them to do what they like with it.
“As a community, we are coming out with a position paper on the issue which will be sent to the state Commissioner of Police and others.”