NDDC board, SONPED

…Demand publication of forensic report

By Egufe Yafugborhi & Davies Iheamnachor

Niger Delta women, yesterday, besieged the headquarters of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, vowing to disrupt the commission’s operations till a substantive board was appointed and report of forensic audit made public.

The protesters in their numbers, under the Wailing Women of Niger Delta, WWND, picketed the Eastern Bypass head office of NDDC, yesterday, bearing placards, some of which read: “No more one-man show”, “Minister we need a board,” among others, demanding immediate sack of the Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa, and constitution of a board.

The women expressed worry over the failure of Federal Government to publish the forensic audit report carried out in the commission, and women’s inclusion in the constituted substantive board.

Speaking during the protest, Coordinator of the group, Mrs. Adienbo Odighonu, regretted that women of the region were not included in activities of the commission, adding that men chose to play politics with the commonwealth of the region.

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Odighonu said: “I am here because Godswill Akpabio (Minister of Niger Delta Affairs) thinks that he has compromised and bought over, and given money to all the people of Niger Delta.

“The NDDC Act states that there is nothing like interim administration, that they should constitute a board to bring development to our grassroots. We came from the grassroots, we know what our men, women and children are passing through.

“We the women are here to change the narrative. We are here to tell the people of Nigeria that Akpabio, Malami (Attorney General of the Federation) and Buhari (the President) to constitute the board.

“We are here to tell them to bring to the public the forensic report and when constituting the board that women should be well and properly incorporated into the board. We are here to tell them that the illegal sole administrator should be removed, and if they do not listen to our calls, we promise them that we are going to protest naked. This is just the beginning.

“Women will come here naked and lie down and sleep on the ground to tell them that the board must be constituted and the protest will continue as long as they refuse to constitute the board, it will continue.”

The Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations in the state, Udu Ogechi, while receiving the protesters urged them to be calm and assured them that their demands would be channelled to the appropriate quarters.

She said: “I am in charge of operations in this command. So, I have come to know your anger, need, and request. I am going to take them to the authorities and I am assuring you that they will be resolved.”

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