The immediate-past Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Magnus Ngei Abe has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over the order of forensic audit into the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) since its inception, adding that the commission has turned to a battleground.
In a statement he made available to newsmen on Thursday, Abe decried the deviation by different boards of the commission from the original vision of the commission, and the abandonment of the Master Plan for the development of the Niger Delta.
He said: “I think that the Niger Delta has become an embarrassment to us and it has become clear to the people of the region that we need to change the way we behave and change the way we act.
“Sometimes when things go badly it is not always bad. It is good that things should go badly because when things get bad up to a certain point, nobody has to go and tell people that this thing is bad. Everybody can now see it for themselves that the thing is bad”.
The Senator bemoaned the culture of corruption that has characterized the activities of the NDDC, saying that even when billions are collected in the name of empowering the youths, the same youths are always protesting that they don’t feel any empowerment. This is not a reasonable way of helping people and it helps only those with power.
Abe said: “Every day you go to NDDC, there’s a fight, physical fight. The youths block the gate and then there is the shooting of tear gas by security operatives. So it has reached a point where we need to sit down and have a fresh conversation on the way forward.
“We need to be clear about what is acceptable and what is not. We need to be clear about what we can do and what we cannot do. We need to be clear that those who breach the understandings that we reach moving forward will be dealt with in a way that all of us can see and understand that this kind of behaviour will no longer be tolerated.
“A lot of times when people get there they think that their obligation is to keep the oil flowing but that is not the purpose of the NDDC. The purpose of NDDC is to provide an enabling environment for economic prosperity in the Niger Delta including oil.
“The time has come for us to have a clear understanding of the direction and purpose of the commission. It must be to provide a livelihood, infrastructure, lasting infrastructure for the Niger Delta, the political direction of the commission needs to be very clear.
“There is a need to reposition the commission. I’m not against the political interference but the interference should be targeted towards the agreed direction.”