The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has called for the immediate sacking of a Minister, Chief Godswill Akpabio, for his alleged interference in the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
A statement signed by IYC President, Eric Omare, said the activities of the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, since his appointment as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs have led to instability and confusion in the region especially with respect to the management of the NDDC.Omare, 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. Ahmed Lawal 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.
”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.
“In the Channels 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 forensic audit order by President Buhari.
“Therefore, we are compelled to ask what exactly is Chief Akpabio’s intention in setting up the interim management committee? How can an interim management committee be set up when within a week time, the Senate would have cleared the board members ready for inauguration?
“What would the interim management committee achieve for the Niger Delta region within one week period of their stay in office? Why is there so much instability in the NDDC under the Buhari’s presidency, when the North East Development Commission with similar mandate is focused and delivering on its mandate?
“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 at the expense of the development of the Niger Delta region.
“The IYC is wondering if Chief 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.
The body of Ijaw youths worldwide also 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”,
The statement added.
Meanwhile, the Interim Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr. Joi Nunieh, has given the assurance that there would not be compromise in the forensic audit of the agency.
Nunieh, who took over from erstwhile Acting Managing Director, Dr. Akwagaga Enyia, at the organisation’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, said the commission, which the governors of the Niger Delta states have accused of neglecting the oil-producing communities, would henceforth impact on all rural areas across the region.
In a related development, Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu has expressed optimism that only a forensic audit of the commission that would return the interventionist agency to the path of fiscal discipline, accountability and transparency.
The governor made this known on the heels of the inauguration of the management team, lauding the decision.In a statement yesterday in Akure by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ojo Oyewamide, the Ondo chief executive stated:
‘’The directive by Mr. President that a forensic audit of the NDDC be carried out remains the best in the direction of transparency, accountability and fiscal discipline.”