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IYC flays alleged exclusion of N’Delta from N621b NNPC road projects

By Julius Osahon (Yenagoa) and Ann Godwin (Port Harcourt)
08 November 2021   |   4:11 am
IJAW youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have issued a warning to President Muhammadu Buhari not to exclude the region from infrastructural development.

Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)

•Kicks against move to merge NDDC with Niger Delta ministry

IJAW youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have issued a warning to President Muhammadu Buhari not to exclude the region from infrastructural development.

It also kicked against alleged move to merge Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

They lamented that despite the fact that the region produces the wealth used by the Federal Government on infrastructural development in the country, six of the core Niger Delta states were excluded from the NNPC road projects.

The youths, under the umbrella of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, through its national spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe, said the lopsided sharing pattern of roads to be constructed by the present administration between North and South and the exclusion of other vital federal roads, particularly in Bayelsa State, would be the last straw that would break the carmel’s back.

The IYC, in the statement issued at the weekend, also took a swipe at the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, over alleged exclusion of federal roads in Bayelsa in the proposed 21 roads to be undertaken by the NNPC, covering 1804.6km at a cost of N621.2bn.

“For us in the IYC, it did not make sense for NNPC to spend N621.2bn tax liabilities on road projects, wondering where the money would come from. Is it not from the coastal states, creeks and oil wells of the Niger Delta? What are the benefits of oil exploration,” the statement said.

if the Niger Delta people are alienated from the benefits of the wealth generated from our backyard?
“We are amazed by the boldness of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to allocate, out of 1804.6 kilometres of road to be constructed by NNPC, only 288.22 kilometres were allocated to the South, while 1,516.38 kilometres of roads were allocated to the North. Shockingly, they announced a mere rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road in Cross River State.

“A mere 52.2 kilometre of rehabilitation and dualisation was allocated to Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states out of the six states of the Niger Delta. If the National Assembly and the Nigerian nation must know, President Muhammadu Buhari is robbing Peter to pay Paul. If Niger Delta people decide to sever the wealth supply, no one should blame us. We will no longer consult or give ultimatum, but shock the Nigerian nation for the injustice and marginalisation meted on our people. We have been patient enough.”

On the alleged move to merge Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the IYC President ,Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a statement yesterday in Port Harcourt warned that such idea will nail the fragile peace in the region.

He called on the Presidency and the Federal Government to distance themselves from such advice by any group of persons or individuals to either scrap the NDDC or merge it with any ministry .

He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari should know that some of his close aides, especially some persons he entrusted with the collective interests of our region have abandoned the region to pursue their selfish interests.”

He urged the president to as a matter of urgency, inaugurate the board of the commission and constitute an independent probe into how the funds of the commission were spent in the past two years.