It has become disheartening to Friends of Niger Delta Ecological Initiative (FONDEI) and other well-meaning Niger Deltans as we witness the startling revelations concerning the ongoing plundering of the resources of the Niger Delta by a few individuals appointed to run the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). More depressing is the gruesome fact that the pillage of our common patrimony is being spearheaded by people of the Niger Delta Region extraction.
We recall that rather than make the Commission the platform to develop the Niger Delta, those appointed to administer the place have resorted to under develop the region; they have rather decided to fill their pockets to the detriment of the people and the environment that has so much suffered degradation due to oil and gas exploration and exploitation.
FONDEI feels terribly disappointed that the only times it appeared that some level of sanity was put in place in NDDC was at brief periods when one or two females were at the helm of affairs in the Commission. One was Mrs. Ibim Semenitari and Dr. (Mrs.) Akwagaga Enyia.
We are even more worried that it now seems that the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari is deliberately complicit with the under performance of the NDDC. Reason is that we find it inexplicable that Mr. President would appoint a full board for the management of the Commission, send same to the Senate and the latter screened and approved accordingly, but Mr. President changed his mind or was deceived to set up an Interim Management Committee allegedly to carry out a forensic audit of the Commission. We state that such contraption is illegal and alien to the NDDC Act that set up the Commission. Why Mr. President has chosen the path of perfidy on this matter leaves us confounded indeed. There is absolutely nothing that says that the substantive board/management of NDDC cannot superintend over a forensic or any kind of audit of NDDC.
We believe that it is important we speak out against the background of accusations, counter accusations and outright denials making the rounds in the media by former and present officials of the Commission and the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio. It is also imperative we come out and speak in support of the Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo ethnic nationalities that have issued warnings to the Federal Government to do the right thing or face total shutdown of oil and gas exploration and exploitation across the Niger Delta. We unequivocally stand with our people.
At this point, we have no other option but to call on elders, civil society, youth groups and notable voices in the Niger Delta to come out to speak and condemn the present rape of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and our common wealth. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to kindly return the supervision of the Niger Delta from Mr. Godswil Akpabio and the Ministry of Niger Delta to the Presidency without further delay. We urge the President to disband the present Interim Management Committee to allow them to be properly investigated by the National Assembly and the EFCC while the duly appointed and screened board gets to work immediately.
A stitch in time saves nine!