Niger Delta group, 21st Century Youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC), has again joined in the overwhelming calls by authentic stakeholders in the region for the urgent inauguration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board following the submission of the report of the forensic audit to President Muhammadu Buhari since September 2, 2021.
In a statement signed by its President, Mr Izon Ebi, the group urged President Buhari “to keep to his promise of cleaning the NDDC Augean stable by making the NDDC benefit the people and the region”, noting that “any attempt to allow fifth columnists to truncate the work of the forensic audit and further delay in inaugurating the substantive board will be of no benefit to the people and the region.”
Recall that the umbrella body of the Ijaw nation, worldwide, Ijaw National Congress (INC) recently also cautioned against any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC Board, noting that “any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC board is a clear betrayal of trust and display of State insensitivity on Ijaw nation and Niger Delta region.”
The INC call followed the promise of President Buhari on the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the Ijaw National Congress at the State House in Abuja, wherein President Buhari said that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted.
The President said: ‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedevilled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.”
Mr Izon Ebi reminded the President that “the palpable restiveness and tension of the youths in the region is already being felt. We urge Mr President to do the needful and de-escalate the tension and agitations,” and implored the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Sen Godswill Akpabio to make sure that the substantive board of the commission is sworn in.
21st CYNDAC reiterated its stance that any attempt to truncate the inauguration of the substantive Board already confirmed by the Senate since November 2019 will not bode well for the region and the commission.
According to the group, “the attempt by political jobbers to truncate the inauguration is for their political and pecuniary gains and nothing else” wondering why “nobody is talking about the prosecution of people found culpable in the decades’ long malfeasance.”
They urged the Minister of Niger Delta “to come clean on his plans for the inauguration.”
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Senate on 5th November 2019 screened and confirmed 15 out of the 16 nominees to the board of the NDDC who were nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari. However, their inauguration was put on hold to allow for the completion of the forensic audit of the Commission. The report of the audit has since been submitted on 2 September 2021.
More than two weeks after submission of the forensic audit report, there is increasing tension in the Niger Delta region over the delay in inaugurating members of the board of the Commission.
The Commission had been under the control of Interim Management Committees (IMC) led by Joi Nunieh and Professor Keme Pondei, respectively, and presently a Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa, since November 2019.
Consequently, 21st CYNDAC has urged President Buhari to as a matter of urgency inaugurate members of the board already confirmed by the Senate to de-escalate the agitation already going on over the issue.