A coalition of youth groups in the Niger Delta has threatened to shut down the corporate head office of the NDDC in the next 14 days if the federal government fails to inaugurate the commission’s board.
The youth groups are the Organization of Niger Delta Pioneer Youths, Niger Delta Youth Assembly (NDYA), Network for Patriotic Niger Deltans, Generation Now Project, Africa Youths Arise and South South Youth Initiative.
In a joint letter to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, the youths said it was unfortunate that the federal government, through the minister, was playing pranks with the people of the Niger Delta of the issue of the NDDC board’s inauguration.
Those who signed the letter were Saro-Neebari Legborsi, Dume Benedict, Anthony Tabu, Baranu Nwigbaranee N, Babatunde O. Emmanuel and Imeabe Saviour Oscar. Copies were sent to various media houses.
In it, they said “we wish to use this medium to express regrets over the continuous delay and failure of the Federal Government through the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio, to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
“We are also in great pain of the perceived politics in the conduct and conclusion of the forensic audit of the commission. The delays in carrying out both urgent task for the people of Niger Delta is at the moment being adjudged to be a tactics to compromise the whole process.
“ It is a known fact in law that ‘iustitia moratus est negavit lustitiae’, that is, ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’. If actually the forensic audit is a process of giving justice to the depraved Niger Delta, why the unnecessary delays? The body language of delay in the forensic audit would only mean that there is a serious attempt and moves to compromise the entire process and we as vibrant youths of the Niger Delta region, who are committed to good governance and development of the region, are saying No to this.
“Recently, there have been growing concerns and protests over the insistence of the Presidency and the Niger Delta Ministry to hold on to the imposition of a sole administrator on the only interventionist agency of the Niger Delta people, and continue unabated with the delays in the forensic audit of the activities of the commission.”
They said Akpabio was deceitful in his handling of the issue and noted their readiness to take their destiny in their hands, since it has become obvious that Akpabio was not willing to keep his promise of getting a new board for the commission by end of June.
They asked: “Does it mean that the government at the centre is still rooted in the politics of deceiving the people of Niger Delta? Was the Minister joking when he made the promise of bringing in a Substantive Board before ending of June, or, was that just a way of pacifying the region for FG to keep having its way in the Delta. What exactly has made the government at the centre not to willingly constitute constitutional board for the region and conclude the audit of the commission? Is the government of President Muhammadu Buhari that of illegalities?
“In as much as we are trying to take position on the questions posed above, we are of the firm view that the federal government is not committed to the course of the oil region. By this we call on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, to immediately make efforts to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, within the next 14 days.
“If at the expiration of this 14 days, the Commission did not get a Substantive Board, the Youths of the region under the umbrella of South South Youths Initiative, our affiliate bodies and other well-meaning youths of the region will shutdown the Commission’s Headquarters in Port Harcourt.”
They said once the office is closed, it would not be re-opened until their demand is met. “We are holding the Minister by his promise that there would be a legal board of the commission by the end of June. It beats our imagination that Sen. Akpabio, who claims to be true son of the region would still be the one behind the underdevelopment of Niger Delta.”