By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
A militant group, Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, Friday, warned that it would, in seven days time, move from bombing oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region to destroying essential infrastructure of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta, Niger Delta Basin Development Authority, NDBDA, and other federal interventionist agencies in the region over their alleged underdevelopment of the region.
The group in a statement by its spokesperson, W O I Izon-Ebi, lambasting the NDDC and its chairman, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, over purported comments that aggrieved militants bombing pipelines were criminals and the Commission would serve the interest of All Progressives Congress, APC, in the new dispensation, also made a six-point demand on the Federal Government.
NDRC declared: “In seven days’ time, Victor Ndoma Egba, and his NDDC board will know that we are professionals that do not only know how to bomb pipelines for calling us criminals. The sudden call of the chairman of the NDDC, Victor Ndoma Ebga, is hypocritical because this present NDDC board chaired by Victor Ndoma Egba is visionless. Urging aggrieved militants to stop bombing of pipe line is coming too late.”
It queried: “What has the NDDC done to discourage restiveness since the inception of this present administration. Last year, they allocated water hyacinths contract to themselves, the only contract that is meant to empower the Niger Delta youths.”
Claiming that its investigation revealed how top NDDC officials were collecting 10 per cent from contractors, the militant group said it was appalling that the chairman of the commission, who forgot to accompany the Vice President on his recent visit to Delta state, was making inflammatory comments that militancy was militating against development of the region.
“We, the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, want to urge him (Ndoma Egba) to match his word with action because we are not going to bomb pipelines again, but focus our strength on all the federal agencies in the Niger Delta region that are saddled with the responsibility of developing and empowering the Niger Deltans, such as NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry and the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority,” it emphasized.
The militant group said the NDDC officials calling them criminals “are more criminals than the so- called agitators that fought fearlessly to draw the attention of the Nigeria government and the international community to the plight of the Niger Delta region.”
It added: “Last year, Ndoma Egba as the chairman of NDDC, allowed his director of finance to make a shameful statement that the present NDDC board is there to serve the APC, not the Niger Delta region. The director said ‘we are to serve the APC that gave us the mandate, not everybody in the Niger Delta, so if you are coming to the NDDC, bear it in mind that is the turn of APC, it is for APC members alone.’
“Our concern is this: After collecting allocation from the federal government to develop the Niger Delta and also counterpart funding from all oil multinationals in the Niger Delta region, they end up embezzling the funds with nothing to show for it in the Niger Delta,” the group added.
The six-point demands are:
“We want The Federal Government to allow the people of Niger Delta region to choose their leaders and control their God -given resources.
“We want the appointment of directors of all Federal Government agencies and parastatals in the Niger Delta to be apolitical, we want the federal government to allow the people of the Niger Delta to recommend the best brains and technocrats to occupy the various offices if truly they are sincere and committed to the well-being, peace and development of the Niger Delta;
“We want the Ministry of Niger Delta to be probed from the tenure of former minister, Elder Godsday Orubebe to date and the East-West Road in particular;
“We want also the NDDC to be probed from the time of Dan Abia to the present Board;
“We want the present board of the NDDC to be sacked immediately because they lack vision and focus;
“We want the EFCC to swing into action to probe the present NDDC board because with the facts available to us, which we would publish next, it will be shameful if this present administration that rode to power with the slogan of fighting corruption refuses to hear our plea. We, on our own, will make that place ungovernable for them because NDDC was created by the sacrifices and blood of the Niger Delta people. We would not sit and watch some group of unpatriotic Niger Deltans that lack vision of the NDDC to continue to enrich themselves to the detriment of the Niger Delta,” NDRC stated.