“During the Goodluck Jonathan administration when there were issues of missing dollars in the NNPC, a forensic audit was ordered and the substantive board of NNPC or the Managing Director of NNPC was not dissolved. An interim management committee was not set up for the NNPC to enable forensic audit.- Eric Omare
By Shina Badmus
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has said it would embark on a mass action and shut down the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) office in Port Harcourt if the NDDC interim committee created by the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Goodswill Akpabio, is not dissolved, and the NDDC board inaugurated.
At a media briefing on Monday, November 4, 2019 in Warri, Delta State, the IYC President, Barr. Eric Omare, canvased the immediate set up of the NDDC board which list had already been sent to the Senate by the president and screened by the Senate Committee on NDDC. The IYC President called on the Senate to confirm the nominees screened by its committee on NDDC for immediate inauguration.
The IYC issued a three point demand which if unheeded would lead to the shutting down of the NDDC office in Port Harcourt
They demanded the immediate resolution of the interim committee and to inaugurate the the board of the NDDC which member list had been sent to the Senate by Mr President for approval.
They also sought that the forensic audit of the commission should be supervised by the president himself and not the Niger Delta Affairs ministry.
Omare said if the demands were not met the IYC would be left with no other option than to embark on a mass action and shut down the NDDC office in Port Harcourt.
He said the crisis Akpabio had thrown the NDDC into would derail and slow development of the region saying that virtually all the roads in the Niger Delta were bad, and that rather than the NDDC going to work it was embroiled in unnecessary crisis, which he said was not in the interest of Niger Delta region.
He said, “It would be recalled that President Buhari through the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation in August, 2019 announced the appointment of the Board of NDDC with Chief Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director and Chief Odubu as Chairman subject to Senate clearance.
“On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the names of the newly appointed board members were forwarded to the Senate for clearance and the Senate President, Ahmed Lawal directed the Senate Committee on NDDC led by Senator Peter Nwaboshi (Delta North) to do the screening within one week.
“However, to the utter consternation of Niger Deltans and Nigerians, in the evening hours of October 29, 2019, Chief Akpabio announced the appointment of a three man NDDC interim management committee led by one Mrs. Joy Ghene Nuieh as Acting Managing Director.”
“The IYC completely rejects the interim management committee set up by Chief Akpabio because it is illegal and not in the interest of the NDDC and the Niger Delta region to set up such a committee when the Senate has begun the screening process.”
“The only reason why that interim management committee has been set up to, is to empower their boys for Christmas and that we say is unacceptable. Enough is enough, the NDDC was established to the develop the Niger Delta region, it is not to empower political boys, it is not to empower loyalist. If you move from Warri to Benin the road is in a state of total disrepair. You cannot move from here (Warri) to Rivers State, the entire Niger Delta is in need of urgent action by the Federal Government.
“So this is a time where the NDDC suppose to be playing its role as an intervention agency to address the urgent demand that is facing our people. A lot of communities are flooded by the ongoing flood; there is no intervention from the federal government. There are no roads anywhere and somebody is somewhere appointing his boys to collect money that belongs to the entire Niger Delta region that is unacceptable.
“Therefore we are making this demand: First, that the interim management committee setup by the minister of Niger Delta Godswill Akpabio should be disbanded immediately.
“Secondly, the substantive board led by Chief Benard Okumagba and Pius Odubu that has been cleared by the senate, should be confirm by the entire senate and they should be inaugurated immediately.
“Thirdly, the forensic audit should be directly supervised by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; it should not be supervise by minister or illegal Interim Management Committee setup by the minister.
“Fourthly, if our demands are not met within reasonable period from this moment, we will be forced to embark on mass action in the entire Niger Delta especially at NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt to forcefully remove the entire management committee from NDDC headquarters because they are illegally occupying the NDDC headquarters and we will not allow that illegality.
“The accountant general of the federation or the ministry of finance is hereby put on notice not release any money to the illegal contraption called interim management committee. Because if they do so, we will not hesitate than to drag them to the EFCC to account for whatever money they are going to collect. Because the reason being that the all purpose of setting up the interim committee is to siphon money belonging to the Niger Delta region and that is why we are saying that the substantive board should be inaugurated, so that they would carry out their statutory function which is sustainable development of the Niger Delta region. And not an interim board to empower political boys and girls.
“During the Goodluck Jonathan administration when there were issues of missing dollars in the NNPC, a forensic audit was ordered and the substantive board of NNPC or the Managing Director of NNPC was not dissolved. An interim management committee was not set up for the NNPC to enable forensic audit.
“Also when Buhari came on board, one of the first things he did was to set up a special presidential committee to investigate the activities of the office of the National Security Adviser under President Goodluck Jonathan. That did not stop Buhari from appointing a substantive National Security Adviser. The National Security Adviser was doing his normal functions while the investigation was going on.