By Emma Amaize
YENAGOA- YOUTHS of Niger Delta, on Thursday, gave the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, a seven-day ultimatum to commence payment to youths and other beneficiaries cutting across oil-producing communities in the region, who executed water hyacinth contracts, an empowerment scheme of the interventionist agency, to avoid needless commotion in the region.
The youths, speaking under the auspices of the 21st Century Youths of the Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, urged the Professor Nelson Branbayefa- led NDDC Board “to do the needful and immediately commence the payment for the water hyacinth jobs before it leads to another unnecessary youth restiveness, loss of lives and properties in the Niger Delta region.”
Leader of the group, self-styled “General” Izon Ebi, in a statement, asserted, “ The water hyacinth job is the only little muscle thrown to the youths of the Niger Delta as a yearly empowerment scheme, which is their right and entitlement in order not to be lured or hoodwinked into crime and criminality.”
The youths alleged, “Almost all directors and top politicians who have slots in the water hyacinth job “have paid themselves and keep dribbling the youths,” adding, “previously, they issued award letters and your place of cleaning, but this board just collected our account and company details.”
“We want to use this medium to warn that failure to commence the immediate payment of the water hyacinth within seven days will give us no choice but to mobilize all beneficiaries of the water hyacinth job and youths to shut down the NDDC until the plight of the youths and beneficiaries is addressed.”
“Professor Nelson Branbayefa should be reminded that the NDDC was created by the sacrifice and blood of fearless and brave Ijaw youths of the Niger Delta and as such, the commission NDDC is not the fiefdom of his family members and APC party members, but for the entire Niger Delta people.
“We urge him to focus and adhere strictly to the core mandate of the commission and always carry the youths along to maintain the desired peace needed in the Niger Delta, which will lead to creation of jobs and empowerment of youths to become entrepreneurs and focus on the development of the Niger Delta as an interventionist agency,” he said.
According to the group, “It is so shameful that even the little muscle called water hyacinth is being hijacked to further frustrate and impoverish the teeming youths of the Niger Delta region that is blessed, but impoverished by their own leaders.”
“Our warning and call to do what is right and just may sound like the normal empty threat. Those that want to test the resolve and our collective determination in our struggle for fairness and equity should pay deaf ears and test our will,” they added.