Youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have enjoined all lovers of peace and development to support the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as it drives the on-going forensic audit in the Commission.
Making the appeal during a solidarity visit to the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the leader of the Niger Delta Youth Coalition, Comrade Vitus Gabriel, said that those running away from probe must not be allowed to destabilise the IMC.
The youth leader urged the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, to be firm and resolute in the quest to bring positive change to the Niger Delta for the benefit of the youths and other stakeholders.
He remarked: “We have been reading the baseless allegations from our detractors, who for some selfish reasons are working against the progress of the region. We appeal to them to allow the IMC to continue with its good works.
“We urge Prof Pondei and other members of the IMC to disregard the actions of the detractors and remain focused on their assignment.”
Also speaking, Comrade Dimie Siyaidon, said the youths were at NDDC to throw their weight behind the IMC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, stating: “We thank the minister for bringing on board transparent individuals to serve in the IMC.
“We have seen all kinds of frivolous allegations, especially in the online media, but we are not fooled because we know that those behind them are trying to cover their tracks.”
Siyaidon stated that youths and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta must insist that the IMC be allowed to do its work and provide the right environment for the forensic audit to be carried out without let or hindrance.
Addressing the youths, the Special Assistant to the NDDC Acting Managing Director on Youth Affairs, Ambassador Alfred Etuk, said the solidarity visit was timely and re-assuring.
He said: “We appreciate this show of support and understanding of what the IMC has done so far. When leadership changes, the laws also change. That is what is affecting a lot of corrupt persons in the system. I can assure you that the IMC is equal to the task of lifting the Niger Delta from the depth of underdevelopment in spite of the distractions from self-seeking individuals.”
Etuk said that some of the attacks on the IMC were on account of alleged non-supply of Lassa fever kits. The truth, however, is that the contract for the supply of these medical kits was awarded before the IMC came into office and the items were supplied.
He noted that Lassa fever drugs were donated to Edo and Ondo and Delta states by the previous NDDC management when there was Lassa fever outbreak in those states, noting that the affected governors called on the NDDC to intervene.
Etuk regretted that the enemies of the NDDC were equally attacking Senator Akpabio, who, he said, was out to transform the Niger Delta region. He remarked: “I can assure you that the minister is doing what no man in the Niger Delta has done. It takes courage to right the wrongs of the past because vested interests will want the status quo to remain. That is why the few bad eggs in the region are fighting back.”