By Ndu Samuel
Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative IPDI has faulted the three man interim board members recently inaugurated by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Hon. Godswill Akpabio to oversee the affairs of the agency pending when a substantive board is in place.
The group has also asked President Muhamadu Buhari to correct the imbalance against the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the recent constituted board undergoing screening at the Senate and as a matter of urgency remove names of Northern and western representatives in the board.
The group canvassed this position through a press release signed by its National President, Comr. Austin Ozobo which was made available to The Liberator Newspaper on Friday.
They described the interim board as illegal and arbitrarily constituted, and in gross violation of the NDDC enabling act, which according to them does not make provision for interim boards, especially when a substantive NDDC board has been constituted and now undergoing screening at the red chamber.
They said ”the actions of the Minister of Niger Delta is a gross abuse of the supervisory powers conferred on him. He should be sanctioned and sacked for abetting in such illegality which is capable of ridiculing Buhari’s government of loosing focus and direction. ”
”It’s shocking, as one begin to wonder the source of Godswill Akpabio, the minister of Niger Delta unconstitutional powers as there is no basis for another interim NDDC board especially when names of substantive board is undergoing screening at the red chambers.”
”We fault Akpabio hasty NDDC interim management board or committee as it is illegal, baseless and unconstitutional as it is meant to serve personal interests of the minister of Niger Delta and his political allies, and that does not serve the general interest of Niger Delta people.”
”We are not surprised over Akpabio hasty interim board as it’s a suspicious move to syphon public funds under the guise of illegal water hyacinth contracts of N1.9 billion with a list full of foreigners for the exclusion for the youths of Niger Delta region who ought to have been the usual beneficiaries.” The maintained.
IPDI also decried that the Ijaw ethnic nationality has been short-changed and sidelined in the current constituted board of NDDC undergoing screening at the red chambers, alleging that Ijaws in Delta State produced the highest quantum of oil in the midst of tribes that are now Buhari’s favorites in Delta State.
The group recalled with dismay ”that Ijaws in Delta were sidelined in the previous Buhari NDDC board and now the same injustice is playing out.”
The said such level of injustices is not ”only disgusting but hatred of Ijaws been displayed. We want the injustice and every illegality against Ijaws to be addressed. It is our demand that the Senate should suspended screening of the new board pending when the government will deem it fit to address our plight as it is capable of threatening the peace of the nation.” They said
The group accused Buhari’s government of running the affairs of the NDDC as a ”trade union and a conduit pipe, leaving its primary objectives of creation defeated,camouflaging with a fake audits.”
”It is our demand that Akpabio interim board be dissolved if president Buhari is not endorsing illegality in NDDC and Delta Ijaw interest be captured in the new board to avoid unnecessary tension in the region.” The group added.