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General News of Monday, 15 November 2021

Source: www.vanguardngr.com

Niger Delta Ethic Nationalities demand inauguration of NDDC Board

Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)

The Conference of Presidents-General of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities (CPGNDEN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari “to keep his promise and inaugurate a substantive board for NDDC following the submission of the forensic report, and in line with the law establishing the agency,” noting that the Niger Delta was in dire need of development which the absence of the board has so far stalled.

In a communique issued after its meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Saturday, November 13, 2021, and which was read by its President, Professor Benjamin Okaba, CPGNDEN also contended that the running of the NDDC by a sole administrator was contrary to the law establishing the commission.

CPGNDEN membership cuts across Isoko Development Union; Urhobo Progressive Union; Oron Nationality; Ndokwa Nation; Itsekiri Nation; Ogoni Nation; and Ijaw National Congress, amongst others.

Recall that, in tandem with the demands of stakeholders across the Niger Delta region, the pan Ijaw group, Ijaw National Congress (INC), in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Saturday, November 6, 2021, entitled “Evil Against The Niger Delta: Enough Is Enough, Mr President” had also warned that the “continued delay of the inauguration of a substantive board for the NDDC is an inexplicable aberration that defies logical reasoning and is infuriating the region.”

In fact the Ijaw National Congress (INC) had earlier cautioned in a statement issued on September 10, 2021 that “any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC board is a clear betrayal of trust and display of State insensitivity on ljaw nation and Niger Delta region.”

This followed President Buhari’s promise to the nation on the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the Ijaw National Congress (INC) at the State House in Abuja that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted.

The President said: ‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedeviled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.”

According to The Conference of Presidents-General of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities (CPGNDEN), the timely intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari would douse the growing tension in the region.

CPGNDEN also kicked against moves to include Bauchi, Ogun and Lagos as new oil-producing states in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

A bill seeking an amendment to the NDDC Act for the inclusion of the three states and future oil-producing states in the commission, sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola of Lagos West, passed second reading at the Senate last week Wednesday.

The group described the bill as a calculated attempt to smuggle the affected states into the commission. The President of CPGNDEN, Professor Benjamin Okaba, said the entire exercise was aimed at distorting the Niger Delta as a geographical area.

Okaba said, “Our attention has also been drawn at the deliberate attempt to smuggle into the NDDC Act some non-contiguous states that defy the geographical definition of the Niger Delta as a geographical zone. This is totally condemnable and we state categorically that such states should be described as oil-producing and made to enjoy just 13 per cent derivation.”

According to CPGNDEN “The NDDC is meant to serve the development expectations of the people of the Niger Delta as an interventionist agency based on the age-long deprivation and environmental degradation, which is part of the recommendations of the Willinks Commission Report (of 1958).”

Present at the meeting were Professor Chris Akpotu (Isoko Development Union), A. A. Onoharigho (Urhobo Progressive Union), Ante Ita (Oron Nationality), Brig. Gen. Mike Ndubisi (rtd) (Ndokwa Nation), Edward Ekpoko (Itsekiri Nation) and Young Kigbara (Ogoni Representative), among others.

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