ABUJA, Nigeria – The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC Worldwide, on Monday, called on the Senate to immediately dissolve the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC “illegal 3-man interim committee” hurriedly set up by the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio after the Senate started the process of confirming sixteen nominees sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation pursuant to the provisions of the NDDC establishment Act.
The 3-man Interim Management Committee was set up to manage the NDDC until the conclusion of the forensic audit ordered by Mr. President.
The IYC President, Mr. Eric Omare Esq, made the call at a press conference held in Warri.
While noting that 15 Out of the 16 nominees for the NDDC Board sent to the Senate were cleared, the IYC said, “The forensic audit ordered by Mr. President should be supervised directly by Mr. President and not by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs because we don’t have confidence that he can supervise the project.”
The IYC threatened that if their demands were not met, they will shutdown the head office of the NDDC.
“If our demands are not met within a reasonable time, we will have no other option than to resort to mass action across the Niger Delta region.
“The NDDC Headquarters in Port Harcourt will be shutdown. We will not allow the illegal contractor called Interim Management Committee to sit down in Port Harcourt and piffer away our resources.”
The IYC described the interim management committee set up by Godswill Akpabio as “illegal.”
It stressed that, “It’s an aberration and has no foundation under the NDDC Act.
“There’s no provision for an Interim Management Committee under the NDDC Act when the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has already put in motion the process of constituting a new board under the NDDC Act.”
The IYC said the action by Godswill Akpabio is “illegal” stressing that,” It’s an aberration and has no foundation under the NDDC Act.
“The argument for that has been put forward by the proponents of the Interim Management Committee is that the interim management committee is to ensure unhindered forensic audit of the NDDC.
“The argument again is not tenable. It is baseless. The reason is very simple. The Interim Management Committee is headed by Dr. Joy from Rivers State. The same Dr. Joy is the person that the president nominated to represent Rivers State on the Board of the NDDC.
“So, the simple question we are asking is this. If you feel that Dr. Joy as Interim Management Committee members would not interfere with the the forensic audit? What makes you think that Dr. Joy as a member of the substantive board will interfere with the audit? It is illogical.
” This is not the first time in the history of this Country where forensic audit is being carried out. Under the Goodluck administration when there were issues of missing billions of naira in the NNPC, a forensic audit of the NNPC was done which was built by an international accounting firm.
“Again, when the Buhari Government come on board, there were issues with management of arms of funds under Col. Dasuki.
” A special presidential Committee was set up to probe the office of the National Security Adviser. In all these instances, the NNPC or the NSA office were not declared vacant or an interim management committee was not set up to manage those offices.
“There was a substantive board of the NNPC to manage the NNPC while the forensic audit of the NNPC was going on.
” In the case of the NSA, there was a substantive National Security Adviser doing his constitutional function while the forensic audit of the NSA was going on.
“The NDDC has become a patronage agency by those in power. The NDDC was not created to service the political interests of a few people to the detriment of the generality of the Niger Deltans.
“The NDDC creation was watered by the blood of the Ijaw youths, by the blood of Niger Delta youths who died in Kaiama, who died in Port Harcourt. Some of them died in Isoko land and all over the Niger Delta region fighting for the creation of the NDDC with their expectation that the NDDC some of the challenges will be handled.
“As we speak today, Niger Delta Deltans cannot move from Delta to Edo State because the roads have totally collapsed.
“As we speak, you cannot move from Bayelsa to Rivers State because the roads have collapsed. Most of our communities have been overtaken by flood. These are issue that demands urgent response of the NDDC as an intervention agency in the Niger Delta.
” But instead, those in power to put the NDDC in place, which can respond to these challenges, they’re using the NDDC as a tool for political patronage whereas, the North East Development Agency, NEDC that was set up recently by President Buhari have a stable leadership and delivering on its statutory constitutional mandate.”