From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ijaw youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta have berated President Muhammadu Buhari over what they regard as his ‘deliberate delay’ in constituting a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) despite the outcry by key stakeholders from the region.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) argued that the quick decision of President Muhammad Buhari to constitute the EFCC board, the NNPC board and other boards of agencies and parastatals showed that his position on the conduct of a forensic audit and submission of the report were mere excuses and cover-up of his disdain for the people of the Niger Delta region.
The IYC in a statement by its national spokesman, Ebilade Erekefe, in Yenagoa, noted that though the people of the region have remained peaceful despite the repeated failed promises on the setting up of the substantive board for the NDDC, the youths of the region will no longer condone excuses for the delay in the immediate constitution of the board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as the forensic auditors have concluded there job.
He argued that the Niger Delta region is losing in leaps and bounds due to the continuous delay in the constitution of the board.
The statement read in part:
‘The NDDC was set up to plan and execute developmental projects in the region, especially, in the areas of skill acquisition and youth empowerment programs, construction of roads and jetties, provision health care facilities, employment, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and industrialisation. We can categorically say that the region has lost greatly in the aforementioned due to the deliberate delay of the constitution of the board. Let it be on record that since President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime, NDDC has been functioning without recourse to the act which establishes it and that has contributed largely to the underdevelopment of the region despite the forensic audit which was used as an excuse for the delay of a substantive board.
‘Instead of using the people of the region as a pun to settle political scores against those that were awarded contracts and refused to execute them, President Buhari should rather make the recommendation of the audit panel public and go ahead with whatever decision on its implementation. But we insist that the board should be allowed to come on stream and embarked on the needed development in the region.
‘Instead, we call on President Muhammad Buhari to immediately constitute a substantive board for the Commission. He should not allow myopic and self-centred politicians to provoke violence in the region and discredit his administration by their known and suggestive ways to derail the repositioning of the NDDC. We accept the submission of the audit report as commendable but will demand the immediate constitution of the substantive board of the NDDC.’
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