IYC, stakeholders threaten fresh showdown over NDDC’s interim management
• Tasks NNPC on community participation in Bonny Train 7 project
Niger Delta stakeholders have concluded plans to convene a meeting with the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), ethnic nationalities and civil society groups in preparation to shut down headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Guardian learnt that conveners of the meeting would discuss the protest against the continued retention of the commission’s Interim Management Committee (IMC) earlier scheduled for January 2021, but was suspended after the intervention of some stakeholders.
However, after about three months of not yielding to some of their demands, the youths are poised for another showdown, especially over the tenure of the Interim Administrator, Akwa Effiong.
Already, some governors and National Assembly members from the Niger Delta region have indicated their readiness to support the planned protest to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a substantive board as provided under the NDDC Act.
It was also learnt that the decision to convene an enlarged stakeholders meeting was based on the way and manner in which the protest was suspended to allow the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, provide a new timeline for the appointment of a substantive board.
A member of the IYC, who pleaded anonymity, argued that Effiong’s four-month tenure, as Sole Administrator has been a huge failure.
Akpabio had earlier promised that a substantive board would be appointed this month after the forensic auditors submit their report to the Federal Government.
But the IYC alleged that Akpabio and those close to the corridors of power were perfecting plans to further extend Effiong’s tenure to enable him to remain in office.
Spokesman of IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, confirmed that its National Executive Council would meet soon to deliberate on the issue.
“We are already in April and we have not heard anything and our people have started asking questions. But we have assured them that the struggle for a substantive board with equal representation of the nine states of the Niger Delta region is not negotiable and we are taking Akpabio by his words,” he stressed.
MEANWHILE, the IYC Worldwide, has charged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other multinational oil companies involved in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 project to engage their host and impacted communities in their works.
The group said community integration would impede fresh agitations in the Niger Delta region.
In a statement issued Port Harcourt by IYC Deputy National President, Saviour Olali, the group urged Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and NNPC to ensure that the NLNG led by its Chairman, Board of Directors, HRM King Edmund Daukoru, prioritised communities’ interests in the project.
It noted that it was imperative for the impacted communities to be carried along in employment, contracts and other social investment programmes.
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