BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Isoko Nation Youth Congress (INYC), in Delta State, has demanded the inauguration of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission without further delay.

The INYC while applauding President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering a forensic audit for the NDDC, however cautioned against the actions of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, which it noted is creating unrest in the region.

It appealed to President Buhari to disband the interim management committee set up by Akpabio, saying that it is illegal and driven by a selfish objective.

The Congress led by its president, Engr Godstime Akokotu, commended President Buhari for nominating Olorogun Bernard Okumagba and Prophet Jones Erue from Delta State to serve on the newly-confirmed board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The INYC said the appointments were “well-deserved, just and credible,” and thanked the Senate for confirming the board members.

The read press statement signed by Akokotu and Paul Erero, Secretary General; noted that “by insisting on his self-appointed 3-man committee running the NDDC while the Senate confirmed board is disregarded, Akpabio is creating unrest in the region.”

It pointedly said that Akpabio is not credible to appoint an interim management committee or auditors for the commission because of his questionable past as a governor who nominated NDDC board members.

The INYC further said; “Isoko Nation Youth Congress is sounding a notice of caution to the Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to let the combustible underdeveloped Niger Delta community to guide his sense of judgement, as his illegal and unconstitutional interim team is tantamount to destroying the fragile peaceful coexistence within the Niger Delta.

“He must as a matter of urgency, revert his decision in the interest of peace and speedy development of the region because, this needless and illegal act of constituting an interim committee is unnecessary and it is heating up the polity.

“Let no one provoke the youth of the Niger Delta Oil producing States. We want Mr President to swing into action and inaugurate the new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and personally appoint the forensic auditors to probe the commission’s finances.

“We are also objecting in strong terms, the transfer of the NDDC to the Ministry of Niger Delta given the undue desperation of the Minister.

“We are calling on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to immediately inaugurate the board of the NDDC, because the law setting up the commission is unambiguous as there is no provision for the appointment of an Interim Management Committee, rather it provides that it will be run by a board nominated by the president, screened and confirmed by the Senate.

“Mr. President, we believe in you and your integrity, which you anchor on due process and the rule of law. The illegality been paraded by Senator Akpabio must stop now. The ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the NDDC as an agency were expected to work independently of each other, but with the common goal of bringing development to the region that had for long suffered untold hardship and neglect by successive administration. This informed the decision to make NDDC an agency under the Presidency, free from ministerial control.”

“The noble idea from Mr. President to have a seamless working operations with the Niger Delta ministry has now been distorted by ego and personal interests by the leaders of the Niger Delta region.

“The dangers inherent in all of these are enormous, as they are capable of stalling the development of the region. As at this briefing , the senate is yet to consider the NDDC 2019 Budget and if eventually it is listed for consideration, would the illegal interim committee go ahead to defend the budget for subsequent approval by the senate? We will not let this illegality stand.”                                  

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