Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, has reacted to what he called “a cornucopia of false, malicious, and libellous press interviews” granted by Ms. Gbene Joi Nuineh, the erstwhile Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) in some news and social media platforms and a “series of concerted vicious campaigns of calumny deviously orchestrated by her” against his person.

Youths and agitators in Niger-Delta have kicked against the seven-day ultimatum by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta, MEND, to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwill Akpabio and Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over the issuance of deployment letter to youths employed by the interventionist agency.

They also cautioned the Interim Administrator, NDDC, Mr. Effiong Akwa, to be wary of unnecessary appointments being churned out from his office as some highly-placed politicians were reportedly sponsoring moles “to cause distraction and scuttle the outcome of the forensic audit.”

Coordinator of 21st Century Youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, 21st CYNDAC, self-styled “General” Izon Ebi, in a statement, on Sunday, said: “We take exception to the threat issued by the so-called MEND. We view it as a ploy and decoy by antagonists of Senator Akpabio and NDDC in another failed bid to scuttle the forensic audit.”

“By using the name of MEND to issue such a threat, their plot was to undermine the sincere efforts and sacrifice by eminent Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders that converged on Okochiri, Rivers state to forge a way forward for peace and development of the Niger Delta region. So why should any right-thinking Niger Deltan issue threats at this time.

“We call on the Minister to take cognizance of the task before him, take the latest Rivers mission to the cradle of the Niger Delta struggle by visiting Delta and Bayelsa states to cement on the gain made on the visit to the palace of the king of Okochiri kingdom, HRH King Ateke Michael Tom in order to avoid all these unnecessary distractions by the guilt-ridden.

“They want to cause problems in order to scuttle the outcome of the forensic audit. Niger Deltans are patiently waiting to shame the leaders and politicians that mismanaged and stole N19 trillion meant for the development of the Niger Delta region and the inauguration of the substantive board to hit the ground running.

“We, therefore, urge Senator Akpabio to advise the interim administrator NDDC to be cautious of the unnecessary appointments flying left and right because some may be moles sponsored by the guilty and highly- placed politicians to cause distraction and scuttle the outcome of the forensic audit.

“He should be mindful and make good use of the limited time to do a thorough job and lay a solid template and foundation for service delivery and efficiency, prudent management of resources and accountability for the new board to hit the ground running,

“We call on fellow youths, agitators, and well-meaning Niger Deltans to support our leaders. This is the time to support our leaders for the first time in the history of the Niger Delta region seeing that they have jettisoned their political and personal interest for the development of the Niger Delta which is highly commendable,” the group said.

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