By Omeiza Ajayi
The Niger Delta Youth Council NDYC and the Coalition of Niger Delta People with Disabilities have commended the Senate for urging President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately swear in the recently confirmed Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) ahead of the Commission’s budget defence at the upper chamber.
This was as the groups also condemned the Nigerian Police for allegedly brutalizing some of its members who had staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, demanding that the confirmed Board be sworn in.
In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator of the NDYC, Engr Jator Abido as well as Beke Apere, Chief George Kpesu and Preye Simon for the Coalition of Niger Delta People with Disabilities, the groups demanded an apology from the Police for brutalizing the Rivers State Coordinator of NDYC Comr. Chinedu Livinus, Mr Emmanuel Benjamin aka Gen Omormor and others who they said are still receiving treatment in the hospital.
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“It is unacceptable that the Police would allow itself to be used as a stooge to disrupt a civil protest which is within our rights as citizens. Our demands during the protest in Port Harcourt calling for the immediate swearing-in of a Board confirmed by the National Assembly is the last thing expected of any group that has the interest of the Niger Delta region at heart.
“That the interim committee which by all means is illegal, would mobilise the Police to disrupt a peaceful, patriotic movement, thus says a lot. It has become clearer that this illegal interim committee that was smuggled into the Commission at the eleventh hour is the handiwork of those who fought tooth and nail to frustrate the composition of the Board that has been applauded by all well-meaning Niger Deltans,” the statement noted.
It further described as patriotic, the call by the Senate on the Executive to immediately swear in the Board it had confirmed ahead of the Commission’s budget defence.
“We commend the Senate for taking such a patriotic stand as allowing an illegal interim committee to defend the budget would only make a mockery of the Commission, the National Assembly and the nation at large. We equally commend Senate Minority Leader, Sen Enyinnaya Abaribe for bringing up the matter on the floor of the Senate”.
The Senate had last Tuesday following the presentation of the 2019/2020 budget of the NDDC to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari raised concerns that Governing Board of the agency recently cleared by it was yet to be sworn-in.
It, therefore, urged the executive to do the right thing so that the right persons can come and defend the NDDC’s Budget.