Youth leaders from the oil communities of Imo State, on Friday, demanded the sack of the Managing Director of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, ISOPADEC, Charles Orie, over alleged misappropriation of funds of the commission.
Speaking to newsmen in Owerri, on Friday, one of the youth leaders, Ezekwesiri Nwauwa, said the time to speak out has come.
Nwauwa said that their protest was because, since the administration of Orie, the oil communities have continued to suffer from no projects to address their difficulties.
He said: “As a statutory commission, the management has received monies worth billions of Naira but nothing seems to be working there to manage our people’s commonwealth domiciled in ISOPADEC.
“Our youths are unemployed, our women don’t enjoy any form of empowerment packages, no ongoing skills acquisition programmes for young people, no scholarships for our sons and daughters, no health intervention programme to cushion the effects of many strange ailments suspected to have arisen from the pollution which has heightened death rate in our region.
“There is still gas flaring, pollution of the environment, particularly in Izombe where I come from, it is very hard for you to see coconut trees, once it grows, it dies from the roots. All manners of sicknesses, cancer is on the rise, my mother was a victim of cancer, she lived in a village where strange illnesses attributed to the degradation of the environment.
“The Managing Director of ISOPADEC has no empowerment packages and strategies that will have a direct impact on the poor and neglected people of the Oil Producing Area of Imo State and therefore we are calling on the government to sack him and put a competent person to manage the ISOPADEC.”
Reacting, the managing Director, through his Special Adviser on Media, Demian Opara, said: “They are rabble-rousers; they want the money for ISOPADEC projects to be given to them to share but we say no. We are interested in using the money for projects. So don’t mind them we cannot be distracted. Tell them we are doing projects with the money.”