• Insists NDDC must be inaugurated without delay
By Timi Black
Again, the Ijaw Interest Advocates, alias, Izanzan Intellectual camp has dragged senator Godswill Akpabio, the minister of Niger Delta affairs through the mud, over what it described as criminal delay in the inauguration of the NDDC substantive board.
The angry group have equally told president Muhammadu Buhari to exonerate himself if he truly not involve in the fraudulent activities of Senator Akpabio which were responsible for the delay in the inauguration of the NDDC substantive board.
This was made available to Congress correspondent in Warri, Delta state, in a press statement signed by the president of the group, Amb. Salaco Yerinmene on Friday night.
The concerned activist, Amb. Salaco Jnr equally told President Buhari to separate himself from the fraudulent activities of Senator Akpabio and immediately inaugurate the NDDC substantive board to avert the looming crisis in the region.
The statement read partly: “For long we have observe that, Akpabio’s tactics to perpetrate illegality in NDDC is for personal financial gains. The people of the Niger Delta know Akpabio more than the way he thinks. He doesn’t love the Niger Delta region, he loves his pockets more than any positive change that will bring development to the Niger Delta region, and that’s why he will always fail to implement any selfish policy that will further enslave the region”.
The statement further stated: “Akpabio and his Abuja cohorts are like heartless pirates on a looting spree, butchering and destroying anything on their part for immediate selfish gains. Therefore, people should not be deceived by any Akpabio fraudulent policy being propagated without the NDDC substantive board. We all know that this new policy propagated by him is fraudulent, another ploy to delay and protect his illegalities with his brother Akwa as the sole financial authority in the commission, and nothing more”.
The president of the group, Amb Salaco who said Akpabio had done more harm to NDDC than ever, accused him of fishing with the commission, adding that Buhari should disengage him if he is not selective in the fight against corruption in the country.
The Ijaw advocates added: “As usual, Akpabio is deliberately channelling his energy on another wrong direction as regards his new fraudulent policy on NDDC. He is only a supervisory minister and that does not mean he alone owns the commission. For heaven sake, major stakeholders like the governors, traditional rulers and most well meaning leaders and people of the Niger Delta are suppose to be part of any major policy change in the NDDC but today Akpabio has sidelined them”.
“Before the creation of the NDDC, the then President Obasanjo personally left his comfort zone in Abuja and travelled round the entire Niger Delta, held meetings with various ethnic groups , traditional rulers, youth leaders and invited all stakeholders to finalise at the River State Government House in Portharcourt for the fact that he meant well for the creation and success of the NDDC and not this fraudulent and shameless characters that are speaking from both sides of their mouth”.
The activist narrated: “In previous administrations, when you hear that there is no money in NDDC, at least the commission accounts may still have 15 to 20 billion Naira in their coffers and with enough foreign currency in their reserves but since Akpabio took over the commission, the NDDC accounts both local and foreign are all bleeding profusely. It was revealed to us that the NDDC staff are witnessing the looting spree on daily basis, and at some points they had to wear mourning black clothes to work in protest and eventually embark on a strike to get their entitlements because Akpabio is only after his pockets and pay no attention to the welfare of the staff in the commission”.
“Presently as we speak, no matter the volume of amount that comes to the commission, be it in hundreds of billions in naira or dollars, it doesn’t last beyond 3 days in the NDDC accounts before it will be blown up by Akpabio and his Abuja cohorts. What is Akpabio really doing with the money that comes to NDDC?, contractors are not paid, all contractors have pulled out of site so what is happening? The commission has been largely engaged with internal matters and has been redundant since Akpabio took over and one will be expecting that so much savings would have been made but empty treasury is the reality”.
The group lamented: “Most annoying, Akpabio and his cohorts in Abuja seem to be succeeding but not knowing that the gap of the current redundancy of NDDC and lack of trust for the presidency by key stakeholders of the region are creating a big threat to the operation of the multi national oil producing companies and their host communities. It is very awkward for authorities in Abuja to link financial crisis in NDDC and the tension in the Niger Delta region to some unrealistic ugly developments affecting the companies in the oil rich Niger Delta.
“Some key stakeholders who have been involve selflessly and silently in making efforts for peace in the region are almost giving up gradually on their peaceful roles mainly because of lack of sincerity from the Presidency. No well meaning Niger Delta person, group, and both traditional and government authorities that have not made an input by advising the presidency to ignore Akpabio and do the right thing but all felt to deft ears because of personal interest.
“The multi national companies are now suffering silently, they have been exposed to confront host communities on their own. Nigeria as a major oil producing nation can not meet up their OPEC production quota just because of some selfish individuals who want to line up their pockets with funds meant to sustain peace and development of a sensitive region like the Niger Delta”.
The Izanzan intellectuals added: “the Niger Delta region still harbours more than enough resources but almost all the major multi national companies had stopped investing, threatening to pull out as they are already selling off their assets while some are even leaving Nigeria and going to a war torn country like Libra to invest. What does that portray to Nigerian government?. It is not only by physically disruption of oil producing company that frustrates the companies, once the enabling environment is not conducive they fine it difficult to operate but sadly, the same government that is charged with this primary responsibility to provide peace, stability and enabling environment for the multi nationals is conniving with Akpabio to fuel up tension in the Niger Delta. It is not only all about sending security forces to forcefully maintain, create peace and stability to provide an enabling environment for companies to operate.
“The Presidency should not take the role of stakeholders, mostly the various ethnic nationality representatives silently maintaining peace in the Niger Delta region for granted. We the people of the Niger Delta won’t be affected because we don’t have anything to loss even if the oil companies production is dwindling. Some stakeholders in their capacity are still playing their role for peace just for patriotism to the nation.
“Therefore, it is in the best interest of the government led by Mr. Buhari to Ignore Akpabio with his endless fraudulent tactics and do the bidding of the people for peace, development and progress of the region especially now that the unrest deliberately fuel by Akpabio is yet to explode”, they warned.