By Omeiza Ajayi
A coalition of youths drawn from the Niger Delta Youth Council NDYC, the National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-agitators and the Ijaw Youth Council among others has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately inaugurate the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, saying anything to the contrary was a recipe for anarchy.
The groups which held a peaceful protest in Abuja yesterday urged the president to not be deterred by criticisms of the NDDC Board, saying it was the handiwork of enemies of the region orchestrated by youths outside the Niger Delta.
“The refusal to inaugurate the Board which has been screened is a straight call for anarchy and it should be averted. We, therefore, call for peace in the Niger-Delta and urge the President to inaugurate the Board forthwith”, they urged.
The groups which said they were out to counter the protests in support of the interim committee of the NDDC which it described as illegal and an attempt to undermine the powers of President Buhari to appoint the Board also urged the Senate to discountenance the campaign of calumny against the Chairman of its Committee on Niger Delta, Peter Nwaoboshi.
Addressing journalists during the protests, National Coordinator of NDYC, Engr. Jator Abido, President, National Coalition of Niger Delta ex-Agitators, Eshanekpe Isreal (aka Akpodoro), Bar. Henry Iyalla, spokesman of the IYC and Beke Apere representing Niger Delta Stakeholders, challenged those calling for the continuity of the Interim Management Committee to publish their names and identities.
“We, in the Niger-Delta region appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for his sincerity in addressing the challenges in the region. That, we are not some paid groups who are not concerned if the Niger Delta is inflamed. We are true leaders in the Niger-Delta who have confirmable names, addresses and antecedents. The protest on Friday, December 6, 2019 appeared to be about Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.
“Without defending or condemning Senator Nwaoboshi, the issue of inaugurating the screened board of the NDDC has nothing to do with whatever allegation against any Senator. This board was appointed by Mr. President who found these compatriots worthy and Senator Nwaoboshi’s committee agreeing with the views of Mr. President cannot constitute any problem except the ones created by makers of this dangerous mischief. We stand with the decision of the Nigerian Senate to stand in defense of the NDDC Act”, they declared.
The groups further expressed support for the forensic audit of the NDDC, but insisted that obeying the laws by inaugurating the board will not obstruct the audit.
They further urged the Senate not to fall to what it described as cheap blackmail, the calls for disbandment of its committee on Niger Delta.
“The Senate should not, under any cheap blackmail, criminalize any of its members on the basis of mere allegations. Those urging the Senate to dismantle its committee on the Niger-Delta based on mere allegations should first advise their sponsors to resign due to the equally enormous allegations against them”.