The Niger Delta People’s Forum has called on President Muhammadu to should listen to the voice of reason from all well-meaning Niger Deltans, elected governors of the region, and true representatives of the people, by inaugurating the Senate confirmed Board of NDDC, which Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs had promised will be inaugurated on April 1, 2021.
The group in a statement issued by its national chairman, Chief Boma Ebiakpo, said interim managements were not known to the law establishing NDDC and that there was an urgent need to douse the rising tension in the region which has reached fever pitch.
The statement said “The patient but long-suffering people of the Niger Delta are beginning to lose their cool over an unending forensic audit that has been used as guise in the past 18 months to hold down development of the region despite a whopping approved budget of N799.5 billion that has been squandered by Akpabio’s illegal interim managements with not a single project to justify this humongous amount.
“Notable groups kicking against the continued stay of the Interim Administrator and demanding the immediate inauguration of the Senate-approved substantive Board include the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Urhobo Progressives Union (UPU), Pan Niger-Delta Forum (PANDEF), and the Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND).
“Like the governors of the South South, the groups had insisted on the inauguration of NDDC board by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, April 1, in accordance with the Act setting up the intervention agency.
The IYC, PANDEF, MOSIEND, and UPU have said that anything short of inauguration would amount to an aberration, and “would be resisted by Niger Delta people.”
We also wish to remind President Buhari that during their March 8 meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, the South South Governors’ Forum (SSGF) chaired by Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State also advised that apart from payment of workers’ salaries, NDDC funds should be reserved in an escrow account, pending the inauguration of the board.
We recall that the Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, had assured Niger Deltans in October 2019 that no contract will be awarded and no contractors will be paid pending the conclusion of the Forensic Audit which he stated will be completed within six months, to terminate by April 2020.
The expectation was that he would quickly conclude the forensic audit within the stipulated timeframe without expending the resources of the Commission and then inaugurate the substantive board with representatives from the nine constituent states in line with the Act establishing the Commission