The Movement for the Survival of Izon Ethnic Nationality in Niger Delta (MOSIEND), has called on the sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, to obey the directive of Hon. Justice Isa Dashen of the Federal High Court, sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, and vacate the NDDC office.
A March 14, 2022 order of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state directed the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to dissolve the current sole administratorship structure of the NDDC as well as remove the commission from any government ministry, including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. The court stated that “leave is hereby granted to the applicant to seek an order of this honourable court directing the respondent (Malami) to dissolve the current sole administrator-ship structure used to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”
MOSIEND, in a letter addressed to Akwa asked the NDDC sole administrator to vacate the office within 14 days.
The letter, which was signed by the group’s National President, Kennedy Tonjo West, said MOSIEND will also “mobilize all well-meaning Niger Deltans to peacefully resist your attempt to access the NDDC Headquarters.”
The letter reads in part: “The National leadership of the Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, (MOSIEND) is not happy that you have continued to hold sway at the NDDC, enjoy access to the lodges or guest houses funded by the Commission, which is inconsistent with extant laws governing the Commission making your stay now illegal.”
“MOSIEND is a sociocultural cum mass mobilization pressure group advocating for Environmental Justice, Equity and Fairness from the Nigerian Government and the multinational oil companies. It is the desire of the 9th National Executive Council of the Movement For The Survival Of The Ijaw Ethnic Nationality In The Niger Delta (MOSIEND) to draw your attention to the recent ruling of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, bothering on the incompatibility of your present designation as the Sole Administrator of the NDDC with the NDDC (Establishment) Act 2000.”
“As stakeholders of the Niger Delta project and a frontline organization advocating for a fair deal for the people in all areas of life, we ask that you comply with the Ruling of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa. In complying with the ruling of the Court, it is expedient you vacate lodges, guest houses and the NDDC Headquarters without any further delay. You are to vacate the NDDC Headquarters within 14 days.”
“On your failure to comply with this simple request, we will have no option than to apply pragmatic approaches to drive home our position to ensure your eviction from Government Property. We will not hesitate to mobilize all well-meaning Niger Deltans to peacefully resist your attempt to access the NDDC Headquarters. We will also proceed to court in conjunction with other well-meaning comrades to pursue Contempt Proceeding as well. We are also advising the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police to withdraw the security details attached to you as Niger Deltans will not allow Tax Payers money to be spent on illegal contraptions.”
Already, across the length and breadth of the Niger Delta region there are unending calls, demands and peaceful agitations of youths, men and women, political and traditional leaders and civil society organisations that the illegality of administering the Commission through the Sole Administrator contraption should stop and the Board should be inaugurated in line with the NDDC Act to promote and sustain peace, equity and fairness, transparency and accountability, good governance and rapid development and transformation of the Niger Delta Region, and douse the tension of militancy as well as curtail the menace of insecurity in the region.
The delay in inaugurating the board of NDDC negates a promise by the President to inaugurate the board after the forensic audit. President Buhari promised the nation on the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC) at the State House in Abuja that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted.
The President said: ‘‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedeviled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.”
Regrettably, the report of the forensic audit of NDDC has since been submitted by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to President Buhari on September 2, 2021, but eight months after submission of the forensic audit report, there is increasing tension in the Niger Delta region over the delay in inaugurating members of the board of the Commission.