- Disowns exco members who met with Akpabio
- As Hausa leader in Rivers urges FG to inaugurate NDDC board
National President of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), Comrade Peter Timothy Igbifa, who was kidnapped in Port Harcourt on Monday May 25 has been released.
The New Diplomat had reported that he was kidnapped barely 24 hours before the commencement of the strike action planned by the IYC to protest against government’s failure to inaugurate the substantive board of the NDDC.
The news of his release went viral on Thursday’s morning when he addressed a press in Port Harcourt, reliving his ordeals in the hands of his abductors. According to him, those who kidnapped him actually wanted him to call off the strike action planned by the IYC which was scheduled to start Wednesday’s morning.
Igbifa stated that the kidnappers who blindfolded him, wanted him to do a video to appeal to his members to call off the strike, adding that he told them that he had already done a video earlier in the morning of Wednesday before his abduction instructing them to go ahead with the strike action even if he was arrested, kidnapped or killed.
He promised to go ahead with the strike action, adding that no matter how hard his assailants may try to intimidate the group by kidnapping him, the protest must continue. He assured of shutting down the Niger Delta if the federal government continues to treat their request to inaugurate a new board for the NDDC with disdain.
“I am more than ever determined to continue with the protest. My experience has not intimidated me and the protest will be more intense.”
The NYC boss however disowned some of his executive led by the spokesperson of the group, Ebilade Ekerefe, who reportedly held a meeting with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, whilst he was still in the kidnappers’ den, adding that whatever meeting they held with the minister they were on their own and the outcome does not bind on the group.
He said: “Whatever meeting they held without me is null and void. I didn’t authorize the meeting and its outcome is not binding on IYC and the Ijaw nation. We have taken a decision and that is final. It is a board or nothing.
“What are they even doing in Abuja? I know the kind of pressure I faced and bogus offers I got to frustrate this protest but I turned down all of them because I can’t betray my people and the Niger Delta must move forward. Therefore, they are on their own”.
Igbifa therefore called out on all his members and, indeed, all Niger Delta youths from different nationalities in the region to come all out and participate in the protest until the federal government inaugurates the Commission’s board.
Meanwhile, a Port Harcourt-based Hausa leader, Musa Saidu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Saidu who made this call in Port Harcourt recently while fielding questions from newsmen said that it was time for the federal government to inaugurate the board of the Commission, adding that as one of those who played active role when NDDC was started in 2000, he is aware of the vision and mission of the agency to attract massive development to the Niger Delta region and to ensure continuous peace.
The Southern Arewa leader recalled that whilst working with the late Harold Dappa Biriye whom he referred to as his mentor, he was acquainted with the great contribution of the Commission to the Niger Delta region, adding that replacing the board with interim management committee or sole-administrator as it is now, were not part of the vision of the founding fathers of the Commission. He therefore called on the federal government to urgently take steps to inaugurate the substantive board of the Commission to avert unnecessary tension in the region.
“Why is it that NDDC’s board cannot be created? You can see the tension all over. I was at the centre of the creation of the NDDC that is why I am shouting. We don’t want trouble in the Niger Delta, they should constitute the board. Any time there is trouble in the Niger Delta, particularly in Port Harcourt you will see a group will hijack it and begin to attack the northerners
“Mr. President should immediately appoint a substantive board for the commission“, he said.