Ijaw Youth Council
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has condemned in strong terms the political interference exhibited by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, in the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.
The group in a statement released to the press is, therefore, calling for the immediate sack of the controversial minister.
In a statement by IYC’s President, Eric Omare, the group claimed that the activities of Akpabio since his appointment as minister of Niger Delta Affairs had led to instability and confusion in the region.
The statement said: ”It would be recalled that President Buhari through the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation on Tuesday, August 2019 announced the appointment of the Board of NDDC with Chief Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director and Chief Odubu as Chairman subject to senate clearance.
“On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the names of the newly appointed board members were forwarded to the Senate for clearance and the senate president, Ahmad Lawan, directed the Senate Committee on NDDC led by Senator Peter Nwaboshi (Delta North) to do the screening within one week. However, to the utter consternation of Niger Deltans and Nigerians, in the evening hours of October 29, 2019, Chief Akpabio ran to Channels Television and announced the appointment of a three-man NDDC interim management committee led by one Mrs. Joy Ghene Nuieh as Acting Managing Director.”
According to the group, ”The IYC completely reject the interim management committee set up by Chief Akpabio because it is not in the interest of the NDDC and the Niger Delta region to set up such a committee when the Senate has begun the screening and promised to complete the exercise within seven days.
Senator Godswill AKpabio
In the channel’s interview, Akpabio in one breath said that the interim management committee would stay in office until the senate approval of the new board and in another breath said that the committee would stay until the completion of the forensic audit ordered by President Buhari.
”Therefore, we are compelled to ask what exactly is Akpabio’s intention in setting up the interim management committee? How can an interim management committee be set up when within a week’s time, the Senate would have cleared the board members ready for the inauguration? What would the interim management committee achieve for the Niger Delta region within a week period of their stay in the office? Why is there so much instability in the NDDC under the Buhari’s presidency, when the North East Development Commission with a similar mandate is focused and delivering on its mandate?”
Continuing, the IYC stated: ”We make bold to state that Akpabio’s intention in setting up an interim management committee with one of his political loyalist Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang as Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration is to use the NDDC to promote personal aggrandizement at the expense of the development of the Niger Delta region. Since the assumption of office, Mr. Akpabio has taken several actions in relation to the NDDC that are detrimental to the interest of the region. It would be recalled that one of the first things Akpabio did as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs was to ask the then interim management committee under Dr. (Mrs.) Akwagaga Eyia to pay water hyacinth contracts of 1.9 billion nairas with a list full of people unknown to Niger Deltans to the exclusion of the youths of the region who are the usual beneficiaries. As if that was not enough, Akpabio was also involved in the aborted illegal secret recruitment exercise in the NDDC.
”The IYC is wondering if Akpabio is Minister of NDDC or the Niger Delta Affairs. Why is Akpabio more interested in the NDDC instead of coordinating the overall development of the Niger Delta region especially the completion of the East Road Road that has been abandoned since President Buhari assumed office? Consequently, the IYC call for the immediate sack of Chief Akpabio as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs in the interest of relative peace in the Niger Delta region.
”We further call for the reversion of the order granting the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs supervisory powers of the NDDC. We had initially thought that it was the right decision but Akpabio’s conduct so far shows that the NDDC under the Niger Delta Ministry would not be able to achieve its statutory responsibilities. The supervision of the NDDC should be returned back to the Presidency as it was before now.”