• IYC insists on June date for new board constitution
The much-awaited forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will reach President Muhammadu Buhari’s desk before July 31.
Also, a substantive board for the NDDC will soon constituted and inaugurated by the Federal Government.
Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio announced these after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja late on Tuesday.
“The field forensic audit is on course and is progressing very well. I am very certain that come the end of July , the final result will be given to Mr. President for final implementation,” Akpabio told State House reporters.
The minister ,who denied being under pressure from Niger Delta Stakeholders to constitute the NDDC board and management team, explained that the forensic audit report needed to be completed first because it would be the guide for the board’s operations.His words: “We have fast-tracked the process, but we insist that the most important thing is not just to clean up the mess but how to reposition the NDDC to ensure optimal performance as against the practice in the past where it was just an agency for the purposes of election only.
“In terms of the composition of the board of the NDDC, of course we have fast-tracked the process, the National Assembly will soon get the list, but that is not as important as the forensic audit, which we have already given a deadline.
“Our belief is that the new board will use those recommendations to turn around the agency. You know what happened in the past for 15 years, where the headquarters that was started 25 years ago nobody was interested in completing it.
“They were pursuing projects that were beneficial either to the staff members or the management and not projects that benefited the region.
“The east-west road is another area of concentration which I think that even the NDDC itself should have taken interest in because as governor, I used to also concentrate on federal roads and to the glory of God, this president has refunded most of the monies that states used in intervening in federal roads, which means it was a good gesture and the president reciprocated by refunding the monies.
“So, I think the NDDC should have been interested in the completion of that road because of the economic importance of the east-west road.
“Just three days ago, we almost had a mishap where one of the bridges had a problem. We are working very hard to make sure that we complete the road come next year not just for the Niger Deltans but for the benefit of all Nigerians.”
*IYC insists on June date for new board constitution
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide had earlier yesterday called on the Federal Government to honour the June deadline agreement it reached with stakeholders on the constitution of the NDDC board.
The IYC warned in a statement by its President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, that Niger Delta youths would not accept anything other than the constitution of the board as agreed.
Igbifa said that Buhari must understand that anybody suggesting the extension of the arrangement was an enemy of his administration.
He added that the extension could plunge the Niger Delta into avoidable crisis.
Igbifa insisted that the stakeholders, who met and agreed on the current deadline , should not be taken for granted because of the greed of one individual.
The IYC boss said it was no longer tenable to continue to use the ongoing forensic audit of the commission to perpetrate the ongoing injustice in NDDC.
The statement reads partly: “We are calling on President Buhari to honour the agreement between the Niger Delta stakeholders and the federal Government on the constitution of the NDDC substantive board before the end of this month.
“Any attempt to demand extension of the ongoing anomaly in NDDC will be resisted vehemently by our youths. It is expected that by now the Federal Government will have released the list of the board nominees. But up till now nothing has happened and the time left is highly reduced.
“What is coming if this agreement is not honoured is unimaginable. Our youths are ready to totally shut down the region this time around. No politician will be allowed to continue playing with the sensibilities of the people of the region.”