By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”ACTIVITIES at Edo State office of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, were brought to a stand still, weekend,Â as management and staff of the agency wereÂ held hostage for several hours by Ijaw youths believed to be ex-militants from Ovia North East and Ovia South West local government areas of the state.
Vanguard learnt that the youths who were protesting alleged failure of the management of the NDDC to fulfil earlier promises made to them, locked the entrance to commissionâ€™s secretariat to prevent anybody from going in or moving out.
Following this action, staff of the commission were thrown into panic and were afraidÂ that they would be harmed by the ex-militants.
The timely intervention of the police of Ugbor Division of the Edo State Police Command saved the day, as the protesting youths were on the verge of destroying the commissionâ€™s property.
The Divisional Police Officer, Bernard Oroupade, was seen making frantic efforts to placate the ex-militants.
Although the ex-militants refused to speak with the press on what led to their protest, it was reliably gathered that a similar protest was held in the recent past which forced the NDDC to promise providing water for their communities as well as absorption of some of the youths.
It was further learnt that the NDDC was yet to provide what it promised the oil producing communities as at the time the youths went on protest to its office in Benin.
At the time of filing this report, the gate had been opened but the ex-militants took over every available space at the secretariat.
Edo State Commissioner on the board of the NDDC, Don Omorodion, was out of the state at the time.
Patrick Iguodala, who is the state coordinator, was very rude to newsmen when they asked him to explain steps taken so far by the commission to address the needs of the communities concerned.