The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has again berated Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, over the endless forensic audit and extension of Effiong Akwa’s tenure as Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
It alleged that the extension of the sole administrator’s tenure was a deliberate attempt to delay the constitution of a substantive board for the NDDC.
The IYC Worldwide said although President Muhammadu Buhari directed the forensic audit and supported by the stakeholders from the region, Akpabio had turned it into an endless exercise, which is being used to perpetuate corruption in the commission.
In a statement issued by IYC spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe, the group said instead of submitting the audit report to President Buhari in April as promised, Akpabio had extended the date of its submission to July.
It also lamented that the minister had stealthily extended Akwa’s tenure saying: “This is totally unacceptable and will be resisted.”
Ebilade pointed out that IYC’s preliminary investigation revealed that Akpabio and his allies had deliberately usurped the president’s powers and had turned the NDDC into a cesspool of corruption, as evident in the shady deals currently going on in the commission, which had continued to provoke stakeholders of the region.
“In the light of the above, Ijaw youths have lost confidence in any report that will be submitted to President Buhari from the forensic audit.
“We no longer have confidence in the forensic audit, because it is a mere ploy to pocket the NDDC under the Minister in perpetuity.
“We demand that governors of the South-South region under the chairmanship of Ifeanyi Okowa should send a delegation to President Buhari and restate the region’s position over our displeasure and warn of the impending danger of failure to appoint a substantive board at a time other parts of the country are facing serious security crisis,” the statement reads.
He said from the beginning, Ijaw youths knew of Akpabio’s antics, which was why they organised a peaceful protest in December last year on the East-West road to express their concerns.
Ebipade stated that selfish interests within the region emboldened the minister to legitimise the illegitimate, adding that stakeholders were disappointed and were now ready to join the Ijaw youths to resume protests to the NDDC headquarters and other Federal Government agencies in the Niger Delta to request a substantive board.
“We have consulted widely with all critical stakeholders of the region and we shall be meeting to review the suspended protests and we shall soon inform members of the public of our plans,” he added.