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NDDC Board: Niger Delta activists threaten showdown over delayed inauguration

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A coalition of Niger Delta activists at the weekend threatened a showdown with the oil multinationals if President Muhammadu Buhari failed to inaugurate the governing board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), cleared by the Senate since 2019.

The group, 21st Century Youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21ST CYNDAC) gave the government a week ultimatum.

A labour group, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), also added its voice to the call.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Izon Ebi, 21ST CYNDAC said: “If the government does not inaugurate the substantive board of the NDDC, after one week, we will have no choice but to mobilise like minds in Niger Delta for a showdown with the oil multinationals because enough is enough.

“The 21st CYNDAC calls on President Buhari to inaugurate the substantive board of NDDC to avoid further compounding the misery of the good people of Niger Delta from their God-given resources.

“The people will remember Buhari-led government as a government that played politics with the development and well-being of Niger Delta, if the President does not inaugurate the board of NDDC screened and confirmed by the National Assembly since 2019 to hit the ground running.

“It is really sad that after the conclusion and submission of the forensic audit, the substantive board is yet to be inaugurated by a government that claims to love Niger Deltans and fighting corruption.

“Niger Delta will not allow unprecedented exploration and degradation any longer since the administration of President Buhari is not sincere with the development and well-being of the Niger Delta region and its people”.

For the General Secretary of AUPCTRE, Sikiru Wahid, who issued a statement on behalf of the group, the appeal went to President Buhari, the National Assembly, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to take “urgent steps to ensure NDDC delivered on its mandate”.

Wahid said: “As critical stakeholders in NDDC, and of the regional development efforts, after taking a critical review and appraisal of all the happenings within and around the NDDC, since January, 2019, we have resolved as follows:

‘’That we as staff of the NDDC collectively, under the umbrella of AUPCTRE, we cannot fold our hands while different political actors from the region through their actions or inactions undermine the enabling Act of the NDDC, and so threaten, the corporate existence of the commission.

‘’That as a union, we say to all political heavy weights from the Niger Delta, that enough of putting personal interest over and above the development of the region for which the vehicle of the NDDC was setup”.

While receiving the leadership of Ijaw National Congress at the State House in Abuja on 24 June 2021, President Buhari had promised that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted, The report was submitted to the President on 2 September, last year.

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