Niger Delta: NDDC Crisis Soars As Ijaw Youths, Others Threaten Mass Protest

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*N’Delta Activists: Saro-Wiwa, Adaka Boro, Mukoro Mowoe, Dappa Biriyi, Enahoro, Sagay, Kokori, Udo Udoma, Attah’s patriotic fights won’t be in vain…

By Hamilton Nwosa(Head, The New Diplomat’s Polling, Research & Data Desk)

The crisis rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC), an interventionist Commission set up to enhance an accelerated development of the volatile Niger Delta region appears to have skyrocketed as visibly peeved Niger Delta activist, militant and youth organizations vowed at the weekend to launch a mass protest against what they called “an illegal appointment of a sole administrator for the NDDC”.

The various groups drawn from all the constituent states of the Niger Delta region said it is “sacrilegious , unethical, and manifestly dubious  for a minister to want to appropriate what belongs to the entire commonwealth of the Niger Delta peoples who fought for decades.”

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According to the various groups, it took the long years of struggles by nationalists, activists, writers and freedom fighters including the likes of   nationalists and activists like Ken Saro-Wiwa, Anthony Enahoro, Ledum Mitee,  Mukoro Mowoe, Itse Sagay, Frank Kokori,  Victor Attah,  Justice Udo Udoma,  Dappa Biriyi, Isaac Adaka Boro, Oronto Douglas, J.P.Clark, M.T. Akobo, Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs(of NADECO), Alex Ibru, Tompolo, etc for the Obasanjo administration to eventually set up NDDC” and it is illegal for what is meant for Nine states to be hijacked by a minister from Akwa Ibom who has installed his brother also from Akwa Ibom state as sole administrator Effiong Akwa.”

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The groups vowed that they would embark on mass protest as only Akwa Ibom state cannot have ” the substantive minister of Niger Delta Affairs (Akpabio: Akwa Ibom State), the SSA to the President on Niger Delta Affairs(Eta Enang: Akwa Ibom state) and the Sole Administrator of NDDC(Effiong Akwa: Akwa Ibom State) as it is against the rules, protocols and law of justice.”

” In any case, there is no room for sole administrator in NDDC Act. We would soon mobilize to launch a mass protest against this illegality. Our demand is to swear in the substantive Board that has been cleared by Senate and has logical spread and legal representation based on the Act setting up the Commission. The Odubu-led Board with Okumagba as the MD should be sworn-in immediately

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“That Board has all the 9 states of the Niger Delta captured and well represented, including Abia,  Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States. Anything short of that is unacceptable, unjust and we would be provoked to resume hostilities in teh Creeks. We the IJAWS will NEVER, NEVER accept that illegality.”, the Ijaw Monitoring League said in a statement on Monday.

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This is coming against the background of similar calls by the  Ijaw Youth Council, IYC,  which described the appointment of Sole Administrator for Niger Delta s Development Commission, NDDC,  as  most deceitful, unlawful and treacherous. Mr. Frank Pukon, Secretary General of IYC said the Ijaws won’t accept to be second class citizens in their homeland, stressing that Akpabio “should reverse that illegal contraption and swear in teh Board immediately.”

Pukon in a statement  said: “The NDDC Act did not make provision for sole administrator and the action of the presidency is treacherous, worrisome and contrary to the provision of the law, which is a siege to our region’s development.

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“How can a sole administrator formulate policies that will be a guide to the development of Niger Delta? Is this not dancing to the melody of corruption and systematically frustrating the forensic audit with a political undertone?

“The NDDC can work for Niger- Deltans and become the people’s board when it’s establishing Act is respected. June 5, this year, will apparently make it 21 years the NDDC is saddled with the sole responsibility to develop and provide infrastructure and proper corporate governance such as accountability, checks and balances, overall, fair and equitable representation to the constituent states of the Niger Delta region.

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“Some of us, however, are incredibly stunned on how the NDDC intends to pursue its policies of promoting the Niger Delta’s physical and socio-economic development, particularly with regard to the sad events of this present administration in the past three years, where there is no substantive board.

“This is unlawful, illegal and unacceptable to this generation of Niger -Deltans and our forebears who fought and died for the region’s progress, stability and development.
“The NDDC’s vision can only be achieved if stakeholders forgo their political gridlocks and work accordingly in line with the commission’s sacred document or its establishment act.

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“When former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2000 established NDDC with a sole mandate of developing our oil-rich Niger Delta region, we were all happy with a glimmer of hope because our continued agitation in articulating our demands for greater autonomy and control of our area’s petroleum resources were visibly achieved to an extent.

“This beckons to all well-meaning Niger Deltans to painstakingly embark on self-reflection and search for answers to what is happening to NDDC, which ought to be the people’s board,” he stated.

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It would be recalled that Mothers in oil producing communities of the Niger Delta have also threatened to protest nude. According to VANGUARD newspaper,  the body in  a communique, after its meeting in Warri, Delta State “said the office of Sole Administrator was unknown to the NDDC Acts and should discontinued immediately and the Odubu-led Board inaugurated without further delay.”

The communique signed by the duo of Lady Kagogo Happy, Convener  and Mrs Ogheneruro Emudiakevwe , Head of Media Relations further enjoined President Muhammadu  Buhari to inaugurate the new board of the commission to avert threat to what they termed fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.

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“We reiterate that the Mothers of Oil Producing Communities of Niger Delta reject the purported appointment of Effiong Akwa and demand his sack with immediate effect. This interim Sole Administrator designate and position is not known to the NDDC Act,” they said.

“MOPROCOND is  to simultaneously hold our nude  protest to take place at the NDDC offices of the Nine states across the Niger Delta and also occupy  major oil fields in the region.

” That the grand nude protest shall take place with all the Mothers  converging at the NDDC’s Headquarters with their Tents and cooking utensils to celebrate with Effiong Akwa for his appointment. Take notice that the occupation of the Headquarters will last as long as we can sustain it.

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“We therefore urge the NASS to urge the President to issue a directive to the Minister to inaugurate the appointed board already screened and confirmed by it as soon as possible.

“The  substantive board would have been the most appropriate body to midwife the audit of the commission. The audit could go on simultaneously as the board is working to bring smile on the faces of the people of the region and new infrastructure, “they said.

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