Ijaw youths in Western Zone, comprising Delta, Edo and Ondo states have written president Muhammadu Buhari and Sen. Godswill Akpabio, minister Niger Delta Affairs to urgently constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by allowing Delta Ijaws to produce both the board chairman and the state representative.
This was contained in a statement signed by the duo of Comrade Dr. Doubra Okotete, Chairman, IYC Western Zone and Comrade Lugard Izoukumor, Information Officer, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide yesterday.
The statement reads in full below:
NDDC: Western Zone, IYC demands Delta Ijaw for Substantive Chairman, State Representative
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC)—Western Zone has urged the presidency and Honorable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio to facilitate the appointment of an Ijaw man from Delta State as the substantive Chairman in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In the opinion of Western Zone, IYC, the NDDC Act, clearly states that the office of the Chairman in the Commission shall be rotational amongst member-states in an alphabetical order. So, in accordance with the provision of Section 2(2)(a) of the NDDC’s Establishment Act 2000, the Ijaw Youth Council, western Zone therefore calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to leave-up to his responsibility as the C-in-C and appoint a Delta Ijaw man as the Substantive Chairman of the Board.
Preliminary findings reveal that, the NDDC since its establishment in 2000, whilst other ethnic groups have enjoyed the position of chairman and state representative respectively, a Delta Ijaw man has never been appointed as Chairman, except in 2008 when late Pastor P. Z Aginighan was made acting Managing Director for a short period.
In the light of the above realities, the Ijaw Youth Council is strongly of the opinion that President Buhari should consider a Delta Ijaw man for the State Rep also because after the first NDDC board in 2000 to 2004 that had Prof. V.F Peretomode as the pioneer State Rep, an Ijaw man from Delta State, has never been appointed in the said capacity, unlike the other three ethnic nationalities in Delta State that have got a taste of these appointments.
It is also contended that going by the Act of the NDDC, Section 12 (1) stipulates that “There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member-states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of production.”
Available statistics show that Ijaw riverine communities are the highest producers of oil and gas in the Niger Delta region, and as such, the highest revenue generators in Nigeria.
Despite the Ijaw people’s undisputed enormous contributions to Nigeria’s sustenance, Ijawlands still bear the burden of massive oil pollution, degradation and severe environmental impacts from oil and gas exploration, production and transportation.
We accordingly and respectfully urge the President and the Honorable Minister of Niger Delta to ensure that our expectations are met as submitted above for equity, fairness and justice.
Signed: for IYC, Western Zone
Comrade Dr. Doubra Okotete, Chairman
Comrade Lugard Izoukumor, Information Officer