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Niger Delta agitators appeal to Buhari not to extend tenure of NDDC board

want EFCC to probe former SGF

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA-A coalition of Niger Delta agitators have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to halt any plans aimed at extending the tenure of the present board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

They also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to initiate a probe on the activities of the erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal.

The agitators in a statement on Sunday alleged that Lawal collected billions of Naira from the chairman and Managing Director of the NDDC, Senator Ndoma Egba and Mr. Nsima Ekere respectively to extend their tenures to 2020 instead of December 2017 when their time would elapse.

The militants stated that influencing the tenure of current NDDC board officials would breed crisis in the Niger Delta region, warning that they would be forced to resume attacks on the oil installations.

The statement was signed by General John Duku for Niger Delta Watchdogs and Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; General Ekpo Ekpo for Niger Delta Volunteers; General Osarolor Nedam for Niger Delta Warriors; Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete for Niger Delta Peoples Fighters; Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw for Bakassi Freedom Fighters; Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall for Niger Delta Movement for Justice; Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson for Niger Delta Fighters Network and Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams for Niger Delta Freedom Mandate.

Others were Major-Gen. Abiye Tariah for Niger Delta Development Network; Major-Gen. Joshua Ebere for Renewed Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta; Major-Gen. Jeremiah Athony for Movement for Actualization of Niger Delta Republic; Major Francis Okoroafor for Niger Delta Freedom Redemption Army and Colonel Nelson Okochi Walter for Niger Delta Liberty Organisation.

The statement read thus: “The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators condemns the illegal extension of the NDDC board and demand arrest and prosecution of the immediate past Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation. It is on record that the tenure of the present board of NDDC elapses by the end of December 2017. Our position is that, the peace that is in place in Niger Delta must be oiled further by constituting a new board in accordance with the rules and practices that have been in place. There should be no attempt to extend the tenure of the present board, if the federal government is genuinely interested in the peaceful atmosphere that is prevalent in the Niger Delta.

“Presently there is peace in the Niger Delta region; the cease fire which was announced and sustained by all the militant groups last year after the intervention of PANDEF was to give the government a peaceful atmosphere for dialogue and subsequent implementation PANDEF 16-point agenda, rather than extending the NDDC board to create crisis in the Niger Delta.

“Having failed in their bid to escalate crisis in the Niger Delta through the meaningless Operation Crocodile Smiles, the hawks and detractors of the Niger Delta have gone about introducing a very gross illegality in the NDDC board and duration to willfully set one state against another. The constitution of the board of NDDC and its tenure has been running seamlessly from inception to date. A seamless and rancor free composition of the Board has followed a defined pattern and each state knows when it will assume the headship of the management team. Quite unfortunately, we have been inundated with reports of how Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal abused his privilege of acting as the SGF by collecting billions of Naira from Mesrs Senator Ndoma Egba and Mr. Nsima Ekere to influence him (Dr. Habiba) to raise a memo that illegally extends the tenure of the current Board run for another four years to terminate in 2020.

“Another gross error is that Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal was presumptuous, as the current board was inaugurated by the Minister of Niger Delta and as such the NDDC is under the oversight of the Ministry of Niger Delta and not the SGF.

“Secondly, the present board of NDDC does not merit a day extension, the Niger Delta people have witnessed the worst board of NDDC since its inception, for instance the present board of NDDC constantly engages in fraud, embezzlement, nepotism, favoritism in award of contract running into billions of Naira, it is a standing order of this present board that such billions of Naira contract be awarded to their family members, friends and political associates, without recourse to due process and the rule of law as contained in the Public Procurement Act; for instance, Techsel Products Limited, Gasons Nigeria Limited and many others are few of the companies owned by Mr. Nsima Ekere and brothers and currently handling different NDDC projects running into billions of Naira. As witness by us, majority of these projects are not executed and very few executed are of poorest standard with substandard materials, poor facilities and equipment and are below the globally accepted standard compared with the huge amount such contract was awarded.

“Records in our disposal show that some of the beneficiaries of this ill-awarded contracts are brothers, sisters, in-laws and political associates of the Managing Director of NDDC MD, Mr. Nsima Ekere as well as the cousins, brothers, friends and in-laws to the Executive Director – Projects, including their Aides and relations working in the MD’s office who connived in this illegal adventure of fraud. It is a well known fact that the MD’s office has been turn to money making factory by his Aides, the Aides are fond of collecting monies from visitors before allowing them access to the MD without the knowledge of the MD.

“Recently, the MD flooded Akwa Ibom State APC and stakeholders with contract award letters ranging from N150m, N200m, N500m, N800m and above in order to further his 2019 governorship ambition, therefore we and the Niger Delta people in general will resist any attempt to extend the present NDDC board more than December, 2017.

“This action will bring injustice to other states in the Niger Delta which suppose to produce the next MD, Chairman and other board members of NDDC.

“We also wish to alert Mr. President that the recent APC local government campaign flagoff in Akwa Ibom state was funded with N500m by the Managing Director of NDDC, this money was meant for the development of the Niger Delta region, the youth empowerment programme which was embarked by Commission was hijacked by the Aides of the Managing Director while water icing contract always given to the youths were shared among the Aides and Directors in the Commission and the States Representatives in the Commission.

“We hereby demand that: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should immediately investigate the immediate past Acting SGF and recover billions of naira meant for the development of the Niger Delta region.

“The Civil Service Commission should also suspend the former Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal for the role he played in order to fuel crisis in the Niger Delta region.

“We urged Mr. President to disregard the illegal extension of the tenure of the present NDDC board for the interest of peace in the Niger Delta.

“We also urge the EFCC to investigate the Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, his brother Mr. Idorenyin Ekere, his sisters, his Aides, his political associates, Techsel Products Limited and Gasons Nigeria Limited. The same investigation should also be extended to Executive Director – Projects, Executive Director – Finance and the Chairman – Senator Ndoma Egba.

“Finally, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators shall resume serious attack on oil installation from January 15, 2018 if the federal government continue with this illegal extension after the expiration of their tenure. We want the Nigerian public and the entire world to be aware of this injustice as we shall not accept any illegal extension of the present board of NDDC. A stitch in time saves nine.”


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