Niger Delta-based youths organisation, the Anioma Youth Forum Worldwide (AYF-W), has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to hearken to the voice of the people of the region and inaugurate a substantive Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
According to them, the inauguration of the Board will fast-track the huge deficit in the development of the region.
The group also accused the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, of allegedly undermining the existing peace in the region through his actions that are in direct conflict with the wishes and aspirations of the Niger Delta people.
The group, in a statement jointly signed by its national president, Comrade Nnamdi Ofonye; national secretary, Frank Odum, and national publicity secretary, Comrade Ekwukwo Elvis, respectively, and made available to journalists in Abuja, decried the way the Minister was handling issues concerning development and peace in the Niger Delta region.
They said: “Akpabio is deliberately deploying the divide and rule approach on the people to enable him to continue to strangulate the development of the zone since his assumption of office as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.”
The group lamented the level of neglect the people of Niger Delta have suffered over the years.
They insisted that, “the present situation been orchestrated by Senator Akpabio has further exacerbated the suffering of Niger Deltans and brought the snail-like development of the region to a complete halt by subtly taking the life out of the NDDC, an interventionist agency that was created to bridge the developmental deficit in the oi-rich region.
“As it stands today, Senator Akpabio has bluntly ignored the cries and appeals of prominent Niger Deltans to free NDDC from his grip in the interest of the region but instead of doing the needful, he has from time to time embarked on frivolous meetings with groups and individuals in furtherance of his divide and rule tactics while annoyingly abandoning the demands of his people to allow NDDC function in line with the dictates of the Act establishing it.
“Senator Akpabio told Nigerians on several occasions that on the completion of the FG instituted forensic audit that the report will be made public and the new board constituted and inaugurated but months after that, we are yet to even know the contents of the report talk more of the board. This is unacceptable.
“On this premise and for the umpteenth time, we join other well-meaning Niger Deltans to call on the Federal Government to make public the findings of the long concluded forensic audit of the commission and punish all those found wanting, to serve as a deterrent to those coming in the much expected new board.
“It has become worrisome because our people are gradually running out of patience with protests being held almost on weekly basis by both youths, men, and women and if not addressed, may truncate the existing peace and in such situation, Senator Akpabio will be held responsible.”
The AYF-W further stressed that by his actions, Akpabio has invariably trashed the goodwill of the region that he formerly enjoyed and the anger of the people for betraying their trust.
The youth group thereby appealed to President Buhari to hearken to the voice of the people of the region and inaugurate a substantive board for the NDDC in the interest of development.