Following the lingering refusal to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, youths in the oil rich Niger Delta region have accused the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio of witchcraft, saying he does not have the interest of the people of the region at heart.
The youths under the aegis of South South Youths Initiative, SSYI, stormed the federal capital territory, Abuja on a protest with a casket having the name of the minister, ‘Akpabio Godswill’ inscribed on it.
SSYI while chanting solidarity songs displayed placards which reads “Akpabio enough is a (sic) enough” “Buhari constitute NDDC board now” “Akpabio Niger Delta will bury you before you bury us” “Akpabio resign now as minister of Niger Delta” “Akpabio we say no to (sic) emmerge NDDC under minister of Niger Delta.”
They said the protest this time would be prolonged, adding that they would continue to make life unbearable for the minister until their demand, a new board for the commission was met.
In August this year, the youth group had shut down activities at the NDDC new complex in Port Harcourt on a one week protest with intent to compel the federal government to respect the Act establishing the NDDC, and constitute a substantive board.
According to them, the first protest was relaxed to allow the federal government act on their demand, which they said they regretted as no action was taken by the government, hence the need to resume the protest.
Speaking with TNN in a telephone interview, national president of the group, Imeabe Saviour Oscar who led the protest described the system of governance in Nigeria as a failed one.
Imeabe said they were against Akpabio for “asking Mr. President to merge NDDC under the ministry of Niger Delta so he can be the sole arm of appointing the MD of NDDC. We are against that.
“We are also against additional states, that of Lagos, Bauchi and Ogun States coming to join the Niger Delta states as oil producing states, we are against it and we say no to all that and we also want the president to constitute the board for the people of Niger Delta so that we have benefit of the region, and if that is not done we are not going to stop, we are on the street of Abuja protesting at the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, federal secretariat Abuja, we will continue staying here, we will make sure that we make life unbearable for Akpabio until he did the needful, he called us small boys but we must teach him that we are small boys that will make him have uncomfortable situation.
“We are ashamed of a minister that does not work during the day; we are ashamed of a minister that works in the office only in the night, which minister works in the night?
When asked the reason for the casket and the inscription on it, the youth leader said, “that is to tell you that before Akpabio will bury us all, we want to bury Akpabio. We are tired of the deceit of President Muhammadu Buhari, we are tired of the deceit of Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio and we decided to come out with a casket on the street of Abuja, at the gate of ministry of Niger Delta protesting, demonstrating in a peaceful manner that we want to bury Akpabio before Akpabio will bury us all.”
Spokesman of the minister, Mr Jackson Udom, when contacted, said he was not aware of the incident and would not comment on anything.