By Omeiza Ajayi
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has been accused of frustrating the developmental efforts of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, especially with the recent sealing of the NDDC corporate headquarters in the state capital, Port Harcourt.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Yekini Nabena told journalists Thursday in Abuja that the move was a partisan attempt at portraying the federal government as unperturbed by the numerous challenges afflicting the state.
The Rivers State Internal Revenue Service had on Wednesday sealed off the corporate headquarters of NDDC in Port Harcourt over an alleged unpaid withholding tax of about N50bn.
Chairman of RIRS, Adoage Norteh, said the NDDC premises were sealed off because the commission refused to make its financial records available for audit.
But the NDDC had swiftly denied the claims in a statement by its director of corporate affairs, Charles Odili, saying that the commission’s record revealed that the claim is incorrect.
Reacting to the development, Nabena, said Gov. Wike was hiding behind the state revenue agency to witch-hunt the NDDC management.
According to the Bayelsa-born APC chieftain, “Wike who is hiding under the guise of a bogus N50 billion unpaid tax was using the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service to harass the NDDC in a bid to frustrate the Commission’s development activities for the region”.
Nabena added that the sealing of the NDDC office on did not follow due process as public records have now shown.
“It is disheartening that the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has chosen to sabotage the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission all in his bid to score political points against the President Muhammadu Buhari government. Wike should know by now that an attack on NDDC’s operations is an attack on the South-south and other oil producing states which the commission was established to develop.”
While calling for caution, the APC deputy spokesman called on the elders, leaders and other stakeholders across the Niger Delta to call the governor to order.
“In the meantime, I call on stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to call Governor Nyesom Wike to order since he has decided to take his known executive rascality to new heights. Clearly, the sealing of NDDC’s office by the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service did not follow due process and is politically motivated to sabotage the President Muhammadu Buhari developmental agenda for the South-south and other oil-producing states.
“The interest of the Niger Delta is bigger than any individual, in this case, Wike. If this issue is unresolved and persists, the federal government must consider relocating the NDDC office to neighbouring Edo state to allow for the commission’s ease of operations”, Nabena suggested.