Groups warn of delay in unveiling NDDC background advice
The Community Development Committee for Oil and Gas Producing Areas of the Niger Delta (CDCOGPAND) and the Traditional Leaders Forum of Petroleum Mineral Producing Communities (OMPCTRF) warned yesterday that the delay in the inauguration of a fund for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) could lead to further hostilities in the oil-rich region.
The groups, in a statement jointly released by CDCOGPAND Board Chairman, Joseph Ambakederimo; and Head of Secretariat, OMPCTRF, Kingsley Arthur; urged Niger Delta Affairs Minister Obong Umana Okon to stop the ongoing charade of the illegal single administration and avoid being sucked into the macabre dance of shame within the NDDC, saying ; “Obong Umana Okon must not let himself be manipulated, he must not give in to the shenanigans of the buccaneers. He must not allow himself to be manipulated, he must not give in to the shenanigans of filibusters.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to implement his renewed promise last week to inaugurate the NDDC Board of Trustees, whose members he duly appointed, also forwarded to the Senate for consideration and confirmation as prescribed by law. NDDC, but the president’s appointees are still sworn in to do their job three years after the appointment process was completed.
“Looking at the other appointments made by the President, in particular the recent appointment of the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Onne in Rivers State, the speed with which the appointment was made calls for wondering why the NDDC Board of Directors has become something ridiculous to the people of the region.
“Another is the directive issued by the President for a forensic audit of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) without dissolving the HYPREP Board of Directors or appointing a single interim administrator to manage HYPREP’s affairs for the duration of the audit.In the case of the NDDC, a substantive committee was delayed even after the conclusion of the forensic audit.
“The president has also not appointed a single acting administrator to manage the affairs of OGFZA. A substantial appointment was quickly made, making OGFZA’s appointment the fastest appointment ever made in this administration’s seven years.
“Now the question to ask the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana, is: what is delaying the inauguration of the NDDC board? Why is the inauguration of the NDDC board of directors handled so nonchalantly? And why do the people of the region seem so weak that they cannot resist this slavery treatment by our own people?
“There has been a two-year budget of the NDDC approved by the National Assembly in the amount of 799 billion naira, which has been grossly mismanaged with no repercussions on the people, and we say that all is well perspectives.
“Resources of the commission would be stolen on a daily basis, with some being used to pressure members of this government for term extensions to continue the illegality of the ongoing contraption and plunder the collective resources of the region. .
“We hereby call on the minister to end the ongoing charade of the illegal single administration so that he does not get caught up in this macabre dance of shame. Mr. Umana must not allow himself to be manipulated, he must not give in to the shenanigans of filibusters.
“The people of the Niger Delta are pleased that Obong Umana has been given the leadership of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and, by extension, the responsibility to oversee the NDDC. The people are waiting for him to rescue, to improve their lot, so he can not afford to disappoint the people, but the only way for him to continue to enjoy the confidence of the people is to quickly ensure the inauguration of the council , in accordance with the law, to ensure fair and equitable representation of the nine constituent states.
“The continued stay of the sole administrator at NDDC has become very toxic and corrosive to the environment and the sooner the sole administrator is removed the better it is for the region. The public space has been filled with stories of shameless corruption since the appointment of the sole acting administrator to lead the agency. The NDDC is complete and is to be led by a duly appointed and confirmed board in accordance with the NDDC Act. Anything less than that at this time becomes unpleasant.
“The implication of what is happening is not yet felt by the perpetrators of the illegality. The NDDC which was a source of real livelihood for young men and women in the area, has been taken away from them such that they now turn to the illegal refining of petroleum products for their survival, and whose activities have strongly impacted the environment. Now that the illegal refining operations have been destroyed by the government, leaving them defenseless, don’t we see an impending calamity? It naturally follows that there could be a repression and that this repression is imminent.
“The region is now the most peaceful in the country given the level of insecurity in other parts of the country. We must not allow or do things in a way that will open old wounds and plunge the region into unimaginable crisis. Let’s not forget in a hurry that oil production in 2016 was drastically reduced to an insignificant amount, which had a negative impact on revenue and the economy.
“Our actions and deeds should not be a tonic that will elicit negative reactions that will be detrimental to the nation. Our collective concern should be guided by the challenges that the region and, by extension, the nation will face.
“It will not be good for violence to break out in the region during your tenure as Minister dissertation in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“We therefore urge the Minister to follow the path of honor and legality and end the current illegal administration of the NDDC with a single director in violation of the NDDC Act.
“We don’t advocate violence, but illegality at the NDDC is the kind of action that drives people to anger, especially when agreements made are not honored. Let’s not let this get to the point where people will resort to self-help. While we can hold back, we cannot guarantee that others will, therefore, it becomes extremely important for the minister to act in a way to ease tensions. The position we take today shapes what happens tomorrow.