A coalition of youth and women groups in the Niger Delta region has called on the National Assembly to allow the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to focus on developing Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
The groups, led by the President of the Association of Non-Violent Peace Ambassadors, Mr. Otolo Emmanuel, stormed the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, in a solidarity rally. They accused those running away from forensic probe of trying to destabilise the Commission.
Emmanuel said: “We are here on behalf of the Association of Concerned Niger Delta Youths; Niger Delta Stakeholders Forum and Association of Women for Unity in Nigeria. We have come in solidarity with the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the NDDC, headed by the Acting Managing Director, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei.
“We are here to demonstrate our support for Prof. Pondei on account of the good work he is doing in the Niger Delta. We insist that he should be allowed to carry out the forensic audit and anyone that is found wanting should face the full wrath of the law.
“We call on the National Assembly to stop impeding development of the Niger Delta region, because all the allegations that are going on do not benefit us. All we want is development which is being frustrated.”
Emmanuel said that the groups were satisfied with the performance of the IMC and would, therefore, ask President Muhammadu Buhari to comfirm Prof Pondei as the substantive Chief Executive Officer in the next NDDC board.
Also speaking, the President of the Association of Women for Unity in Nigeria, Evangelist Mrs. Mary Chijioke, said that the group was not happy with the crisis rocking the NDDC, accusing some powers that be of sowing seeds of discord in the region.
She lamented that the NDDC had been destabilised in the last one year, stating: “We have had four Acting MDs in one year. They will put an Acting MD and remove him before you know it, because they do not want them to focus.”
Chijioke warned those she said were causing confusion in this Niger Delta region to leave the NDDC alone, noting: “It is either Pondei or nobody. He should be allowed to focus and do something for the Niger Delta region. He came and he is ready to work. All these allegations are coming up now because of the forensic audit.
“We do not want anything to happen to our son and we do not want any acting appointment again in NDDC. We want Mr. President to confirm Pondei as MD. It is the turn of Bayelsa to produce the Managing Director of NDDC and he is the right person for the position.”
In his own remarks, the President of the Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disabilities, Mr. Simon Bidei, said that Niger Delta would be better without distractions that hinder development.
He declared: “We want Mr. President to know that we stand by Prof. Prodei. He has proven to be good and we want him to provide the necessary environment for the forensic audit.”
Another youth leader, Mr. Kingsley Maduka, said that Niger Delta stakeholders were worried by the numerous allegations, which he said were mainly sponsored by some members of the National Assembly.
He stated: “We say no to those putting clogs in the wheel of our development, especially those that are notorious for padding budgets.”