By Ndu Samuel
The leadership of a socio-cultural group, Indigenous People of Niger Delta (IPND) has warned against blackmail and media trial of leaders in the Niger Delta region without proper investigation of issues involved.
The warning was contained in a press release issued by the group and signed by its National Secretary General Comr. Benny Emeka Harcourt, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspaper.
IPND noted with dismay, incessant attacks and blackmail meted out to Niger Delta leaders by pressure groups, NGOs and some sons and daughters from the region and caution that such acts should stop henceforth.
The group said that it has zero tolerance for corruption and corrupt individual and will never for any reason support or cover up any form of corrupt practice even as it noted that it will continue to advocate whistle blowing to ensure that public funds are not embezzled.
They said they are particularly disturbed by recent calls by some individuals in the region who have come out publicly to demand the sack of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio, saying such ”should not be encouraged by anyone who mean well for the Niger Delta Region.”
”We are pleading with the Niger Delta Senators, Federal representatives, Ministers and Federal appointees to put their differences aside for the sake of the Region so there could be cohesion in other to fast track and tackle the numerous challenges facing the Niger Delta Region.” they said.
”We cannot afford to be divided at this critical time as it will take us many years backwards and leave our youths,women and children frustrated.”
The maintained that it is ”crystal clear that no Community can progress without the advice,guidance and direction of the elderly in the society, likewise we as a people will be doing a great disservice to ourselves if we keep on tarnishing the image and reputation of our leaders who have sacrificed and served over the years in different capacities.”
”We hereby call on the great youths of the Niger Delta, pressure groups and organizations not to allow themselves to be used as agents of blackmail or character assassination against Niger Delta leaders especially in cases where accusations are made and cannot be verified or found out not to be true.”
”It will be recalled that a scandal was sponsored against Brigadier Gen. Paul Tarela Boroh as S.SA to Presidency on Niger Delta affairs and Coordinator Armnesty office, that a phantom 9 million dollars was found in his house, without verification we all went on social media to persecute him and later when the story was found to be false no one remembered to apologise.”
”We must put an end to these malicious irregularities, we are also calling on our leaders to operate a open door policy and attend more to our people when genuine efforts are made to reach out or a good presentation to be delivered, every leader must be totally accountable while in office and after, we reiterate our commitment towards service, youth empowerment and building of human capital development.”
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari on the appointments made to the NDDC board, they said ”for we believe they are most qualified to deliver the required changes and development to the Niger Delta people and rural Communities.”
The socio-cultural group applauded ”Mr. President for being dogged in his fight against corruption and plead with him not to renege in his pronouncement in ensuring that forensic audit is carried out on the activities of NDDC since its inception from 21, Dec 2000 to 2019 and to use his good office to prosecute those whom the law would find wanting of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds meant for the development of Niger Delta over the years”.