Physically challenged persons’ protest against NDDC’s failure to pay them
Physically challenged persons in Port Harcourt yesterday protested against the failure of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to pay them the N3million it promised them.
The protesters, under the aegis of “Niger Delta Great Minds Foundation of People with Deformity,” barricaded the Port Harcourt/Aba road with their wheel chairs, crutches and other items.
The President of the group, Emoto Azikiwe Femi, said they were grieved by the action of the commission’s officials, who had failed to pay them the money despite that it had since been approved.
According to them, the Managing Director of the NDDC, Senator Godwin Ndoma-Egba, promised to pay them the money last month for their welfare.The development caused traffic gridlock, as vehicles coming in and out of Port Harcourt were held up, forcing motorists and commuters to take alternative routes.
Attempts by some drivers to persuade them to shift to one side of the four-lane road were unsuccessful, as they insisted on having their way.
Policemen who were deployed in the area further compounded the movement of vehicles, as they fortified the main entrance to the NDDC’s office with their patrol vehicles.
Femi said: “We came to the commission last month to seek audience with the managing director, which he granted. At the end of our interaction, he promised to back-roll our transportation fare from our various states and locations with N3 million.
“But the director of youths urged us to come back in two weeks time, by which time the money would have been processed. But when we came, the money was not ready, and they have been dribbling us since then.”He lamented that the N560 million skills acquisition proposal that the group submitted to the commission since 2014, had not been attended to.
Femi said they and their families are facing poverty, due to their physical challenges, adding that they would be able to take care of themselves if they were employed.
When contacted, the Manager, Corporate Affairs of the commission, Ibitoye Abosode, said: “There was no blockade on the road,” adding that the commission’s office is located on the expressway, which is the major entry and exit route to the state capital.
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