By Binebai Princewill
A Niger Delta rights group under the aegis of Ijaw Interest Advocates, IIA, popularly known as the Izanzan Intellectual Camp and other right groups in the country have raised alarm over an alleged plan by some powers within the country to divert funds meant for the development of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to a certain account of one of Nigeria’s anti graft agency.
This was made known to newsmen in Warri recently via a press briefing organized by members of the Ijaw interest Advocates led by its national coordinator Amb. Arerebo Salaco Yerinmene Snr, Comr. Sammy George, former Chairman of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Easten Zone and representatives of other right groups who briefed newsmen on the matter.
Briefing the press on behalf of all the groups, Amb. Salaco Arerebo had particularly frowned at the alleged diversion of remittance funds from the International Oil Companies to a certain account of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), stressing that if such a rumour is anything to go bye, Salaco called on president Muhammadu Buhari to look into the matter, adding that on no account should anyone try to divert money belonging to the Development of the Niger Delta Region for personal aggrandizement.
The groups alleged that some months ago, the IOCs credited money belonging to the NDDC to EFCC, this he said is being manipulated by some powerful ministers serving in the current administration of Buhari, maintaining that the situation is so as the accounts of NDDC has since been frozen due to the series of fraud allegations levelled against it in recent times.
It would be recalled that the press statement presented at the press briefing was jointly signed by the duo of Amb. Salaco Arerebo and Comr. Sammy George on behalf of the other groups.
The groups had also copied the powers that be in the country to look into the issue with a view of doing justice on the matter.
The statement reads in full below:
NDDC SAGA: A PRESS STATEMENT ON THIS 12TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 2020 TO DRAW THE ATTENTION OF PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AND NIGERIANS, PARTICULARLY NIGER DELTANS OVER IOC’S REMITTANCE FUND DIVERTED TO EFCC GTB ACCOUNT
National Coordinators and Presidents of Niger Delta Based Right Groups.
Stakeholders of the Niger Delta struggle
Gentlemen of the press
Members of the general public
Ladies and gentlemen.
I send you greetings of solidarity from the dogged Izanzan Intellectual Camp as we reassemble to express our fears, anger and worries to our dear President, President Muhammadu Buhari, over the purported diversion of funds meant for the Niger Delta region by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) and some ministers in the current federal executive council.
Your presence in this day’s press conference, despite the impromptu notification, shows your respective level of interest for the all-round sustainability of the Niger Delta region, hence it is an avenue for us to express our worries, anger and fears following the recent happenings in the country.
As we go down to express our fears, I want to believe that we are all genuinely in this challenging course, targeted to change the ugly narratives of our all-round developmental deprivation.
Going further, we are all here to express our fears exhaustively over the way and manner the Niger Delta region is being treated. We are all here to openly reject how we are being treated as second class citizens in this country. We are all here to unveil to the Nigerian state how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, in alliance with the some ministers is said to be diverting funds belonging to the Niger Delta region for whatever strange reasons we don’t know. If this is really true, we want our dear President to investigate and do justice to this matter.
Having postulated the reason why we have reassembled here, I want to clearly open to Nigerians, particularly Niger Deltans, that our collective sensibility has been taken for granted and jeopardized by these group of people.
However, by this press statement, we are stating that if our information is true, there is a rumour that the IOC’s paid remittance funds meant for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the EFCC Gauranty Trust Bank (GTB) account months ago and we are also aware of their plans over this strange and worrisome development, therefore it is in their best interest to return the remitted funds to the appropriate quarter in the Commission.
It will specifically shock the general public, especially Niger Deltans, to know that over the last six (6) months, the NDDC’s Interim Management Committee (IMC) has been restricted from having access to IOC’s remitted funds by the directive of the Presidency, following law enforcement agencies recommendation.
Despite all the looting going on in the country, we are very shocked that President Buhari is yet to act as expected by the peace loving people of the Niger Delta, thus we still believe that the needful will be done soon enough.
If the information is correct, we are calling on all Niger Deltans to rise up against this gang up against our development as a people.
For clarity purposes, information in our situation room clearly reveals that over a month ago, all the IOCs’ remitted to the mother host of all the IOCs across the nation, which is the NNPC. The NNPC credited the remittances to the EFCC Gauranty Trust Bank (GTB) account.
And as we speak, instead of some ministers that have hint on the matter to be patriotic in reporting this questionable move, they decided to be part and parcel of impoverishing the Niger Delta region in collaboration with very strange elements in the Nigerian State.
Via this press statement, we are emphatically stating, without mincing words, that we shall never, for any reason, allow anybody, for any reason whatsoever, to impoverish us further and any further attempt to loot the commonwealth of our people, we shall resort to occupying the streets of the Niger Delta. We shall use all means necessary to fight against this move, if it is not stopped immediately.
In as much as the development of the North-East, through the North-East Development Commission, is a top priority to the northerners, the develoment of the oil rich-Niger Delta region is also a top priority to us. As such, any attempt to embezzle the IOCs’ remittances, we shall take over the streets of Niger Delta with peaceful protests.
Therefore, we are calling on President Buhari to heed our call and pay attention to our revelations and take necessary actions to stop further looting at the NDDC. We are ever ready to confront any force set against the develoment of our oil-rich region, especially when the ordeals of the revelations of the massive looting of the commonwealth of the people is still fresh in our memories, a situation that kept us wondering if the Presidency is celebrating corruption, thereby putting a serious credibility question on the government’s acclaimed anti-corruption war. We are beginning to wonder if the said anti-corruption crusade is a reality or a hoax.
To this end, we are appealing to President Buahri to look into this matter by not allowing anyone to tamper with the IOCs fund, which is primary meant for the develoment of the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
We are boldly reemphasizing that we will not allow anybody or institution, for any reason whatsoever, to impoverish the people of Niger Delta through executive corrupt practices, looting the commonwealth of our people. We shall resist every force against our develoment, even in the midst of persecution, relegation and oppression, as we have resolved to occupy the streets of the Niger Delta
until such perceived broad day light manoeuvring of funds is stopped.
Thank you and Godbless you all!!!
Long live Nigeria!
Long live Mr. President
Long live Niger Delta
Long live Izanzan camp
Long Live IPND
Long Live NDPP
Long Live SND
Long Live PLFND
Long Live NDYP
Long Live IPP
Amb. Arerebo Salaco Yerinmene SNR
(National Coordinator, Ijaw Interest Advocates; Izanzan Intellctual Camp)
Sir Sammy Gorge
(Chairman Emeritus, IYC, Eastern Zone / National President Patriotic Ijaw Youth Leaders)
Chief of staff to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
National Secretary Adviser (NSA)
Nigeria Senates President.
Speaker, House of Representatives.
Senate House Committee Chairman on NDDC.
House Reps House Committee Chairman on NDDC.
Inspector General of Police.
Director of DSS.