Spread the love
John ODHE, Yenagoa
The ljaw Youth Council (IYC) has backed out of its earlier plan to embark on a mass protest to and shutdown headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers state over the appointment of Mr. Akwa Effiong as Sole Administrator of the Board.
IYC said the decision to rescind the planned action was reached after consultations with key stakeholders.
The pan ljaw youth pressure group has been at the front burner of the agitation and protests for a substantive board for the NDDC instead of appointing sole administrator, which they described as strange and unknown to the commission since its inception.
In a press statement signed by it’s Spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, the IYC said part of its agitations was to ensure that the Nine-point demands by the Niger Delta Governors and other stakeholders in the region were acted upon.
The statement read in parts: “we started the agitation with intellectual engagement through the media, embarked on protest along the East-West road and warned of the massive protest against the seemingly silence on the demands of the Niger Delta Youths.
“While many were committed to shutting down of the headquarters of the NDDC in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, others reneged and betrayed their conscience and their people. But posterity is the best judge. Inspite of the pressure, and betrayal, the IYC forged ahead.
“Am happy to inform you, that despite the pressure and compromising stance of a few, the agitation resulted in breaking the silence of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio on a new timeline for the appointment of a substantive board which he puts at April, 2021
“Distinguish media practitioners, though we have observed that the past promises made by the Federal Government on the issues of NDDC, Amnesty office, the East-West road, and other issues concerning our development, have never been fulfilled, we would be waiting, monitoring and engaging the Federal Government and Minister Godswill Akpabio on these numerous contentious issues.”
IYC noted that the recent appointment of former President of the ljaw youth council, Engr. Udengs Eradiri as SA Youth to the Sole Administrator, though positive and for a purpose, should not be taken as a means to silence the Ijaw Youths agitating for a substantive board for the NDDC.
The statement further read: “while it is unanimously agreed that Engr. Udengs Eradiri has what it takes, both in capacity and in competence to reaching out and pacifying Ijaw youths and youths from other ethnic nationality within the region who are aggrieved over the appointment of Mr. Effiong Akwa as Sole Administrator of the NDDC, our position has not changed.
“We are irrevocably committed to ensuring that a substantive board for the NDDC with fair representation of the Nine member states of the region making up the Commission is immediately constituted as enshrined in the act.
“Let me reiterate that those against the protest are in variance to the overwhelming majority of Ijaw youths who have concluded plans to embark on a peaceful, but decisive demonstration at the NDDC headquarters to press home the demands of the region.
“Such conscious mass movements cannot be terminated because of the appointment of Engr. Udengs Eradiri as SA youths to the Sole Administrator. However, as a former president of the Ijaw youth council he will enjoy our support and collaboration in discharging his duties effectively to the admiration of all.
“Therefore, haven consulted with critical stakeholders and leaders of thoughts within the region, critical organs of Council, we therefore resolved to put on hold the planned “Mother of All Protest” at the Headquarters of NDDC in Port- Harcourt, to allow the Sole Administrator superintend over the conclusion of the forensic audit as alluded by the Honorable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“We urge the external forensic auditors to hasten up their assignment and conclude within the stipulated April timeline as Ijaw youths will not tolerate excuses anymore for negligence as our plans to carrying out a mother protest is still on course if the substantive board is not inaugurated by April.”
The youth body also called on the commission to make policies and programs that will build the capacities of youths in areas of skills acquisition / empowerment, payment of tuition fees to beneficiaries of the NDDC foreign scholarship scheme as well as payment of indigenous contractors whose monies are still tied down in the commission despite the completion of such projects.
It also sued for other priority projects that will stimulate the economy of the Niger delta region, stating that it will continue to monitor and ensure that the just approved 2020 budgetary provisions accrued to the NDDC and ensure that what is just is done for the people of the region.