By Emma Amaize
TWO Niger- Delta groups, 21st Century Youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, 21st CYNDAC, and Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, are at each other’s throat over the appointment of former Executive Director, Finance and Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Effiong Akwa, as the Interim Administrator of the interventionist agency.
While the commanding officer of RNDA, a coalition of nine militant groups, self-styled ‘Major Gen’” Johnmark Ezonebi, aka Obama, threatened that the group would destroy oil facilities in the oil region and “bring down” NDDC office in Port Harcourt if Federal Government did not annul the appointment, 21st CYNDAC dismissed the threat.
The Presidency had, in a statement penultimate Saturday, sacked the NDDC Interim Management Committee (IMC) and appointed Akwa to oversee the agency.
The IMC had been enmeshed in controversy over its legality as some Niger Deltans claimed there was no room for it in the law establishing the NDDC.
But the Federal Government said the mandate was to condct forensic audit of the agency amid humongous corruption allegations levelled against former officials.
A Federal High Court finally ruled penultimate week that the IMC was illegal. Accusing Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Godswill Akpabio, of perennially causing confusion in NDDC, the RNDA, reacting to the sack of the IMC and appointment of Interim Administrator, stated, “We will be left with no option than to declare total war in the creek to cripple the economy and also announce operation zero crude oil flow in the creek of Niger Delta if President Muhammadu Buhari did not stop Akpabio.”
“We advise multinationals oil companies operating in the creeks of Niger Delta region to evacuate their workers on rigs, platforms and manifolds, we will close down all the oil wells and flow stations in the creeks and will cut down the Escravos-Warri-Kaduna gas pipeline that transmits gas to Abuja.
“Every illegality must stop and will be resisted heavily with any means necessary, therefore, we call on Buhari to act now before it will be too late.”
“Enough is enough of this continuous illegality and if Mr. President fold his hands to allow this form of corruption and devilish act to continue without acting and without doing anything, then, we, RNDA will not keep quiet and will not allow this to happen again this time around.
‘We want the minister to know that he and his fellow bidders in the Villa will fail woefully and they cannot enslave the people of the Niger Delta any longer and we will fight him to a standstill with the last drop of our blood in the creek,” it added.
Countering RNDA, another group of N-Delta agitators, 21st CYNDAC led by self-professed “General” Izon Ebi, chided the former, saying it was making an empty threat.
“The threat to destroy oil installations by the RNDA do not hold ground because Niger -Deltans are fully in support of the forensic audit, which the new administration is meant to bring to logical conclusion,” the group said.
It posited that the appointment of Mr. Akwa, a chartered accountant and lawyer as interim administrator of NDDC was welcome development.
The group added: “The forensic audit of the commission ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari must be satisfactorily carried out based on the need to set good precedence for the incoming substantive administration to follow. If the forensic audit of the commission fails, it means the purveyors of administrative impunity and corrupt tendencies would continue to strive. It also means that the commission in itself would, forever, be run by a few to the detriment of all.”
“Therefore, the current gang up and stiff opposition against Mr. Akwa is the last resort of the guilty to truncate the forensic audit.
“The development that led to the appointment of Mr. Akwa is necessitated as a result of a plethora of litigation and a restraining order issued recently against the Interim Management Committee of NDDC by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
“We applaud Mr. President for his bold step to avert the truncating of the forensic audit by disgruntled stakeholders of the Niger Delta. The laudable step by Mr. President is evident of his determination to ensure that Niger- Deltans see and shame those that looted NDDC to comatose to the detriment of the region and its people.
“Recall that administration of the commission since it was handed over to the IMC by President Buhari has been faced with stiff opposition from various categories of stakeholders in the Niger Delta. The varying allegations, including financial improprieties, leveled against the IMC and its leadership, leading to a National Assembly probe and a short-lived face- off between the federal law makers and the minister of Niger -Delta Affairs on one hand, and the IMC on the other hand, are all tactics to truncate the forensic audit”.