From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Some Niger Delta youths from the Ijaw ethnic nationality have vowed to resist any attempt by the Federal Government (FG) to extend the tenure of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere.
The youths also warned that Federal Government should not use NDDC to disrupt the fragile peace currently enjoyed in the region, stressing that Ijaw people want to see a new NDDC board from January, 2018.
The Ijaw people declared this, on Thursday, when they staged a peaceful demonstration at the head office of the Commission, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, calling on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to heed to their request in the interest of peace.
The protesters used several placard inscriptions to express their displeasure on the activities of the Commission, cautioning against using NDDC appointments to compensate failed politicians.
Some of the placards read: ‘Ijaw nation rejects NDDC tenure elongation’, ‘NDDC is standing on the blood and tears of Ijaw youths’, ‘We need the fragile peace sustained in Niger Delta’, ‘NDDC has become the fourth tier of government to settle failed politicians’, ‘Ijaw youths will resist any impunity from NDDC’, ‘End corruption of NDDC now’ and ‘Federal Government should not instigate crisis in Niger Delta through NDDC’.
President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and leader of the protest, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, while addressing protesters, frowned at the alleged plot to elongate Ekere’s tenure against the interest and opportunity of another Niger Delta indigene.
He described as ‘illegal, fraudulent and unacceptable’ the tenure elongation procured by the management board of the NDDC, pointing out that, on December 16, Ekere completed the four years of his predecessor, Dan Abia.
Oweilaemi noted that the Commission was established in 2002, as a result of continuous agitations by Ijaw people and other ethnic nationalities in the region for development.
“But, today the essence for the creation of the Commission has been defeated. We are here as Ijaw people to register our displeasure about the management of NDDC. To the best of our knowledge, this present board of the Commission has failed Ijaw people. This board has failed people of the Niger Delta region.
“People, who are appointed to hold different offices of this NDDC have decided to play politics with our blood. And, we are saying, that we will not allow that.
“Now, coming to the nitty-gritty of the matter today, we are here as a people, to tell the world, to tell dear President, who does not what to see or hear corruption, as far as we are concerned, this is the most corrupt institution. The NDDC board today, is the worst so far,” he alleged.
The IYC leader vowed that failure of Federal Government to appoint a new management on or before January, the Ijaw youths would shut down the Commission.
“This board would for no reason, come to resume work in January, 2018. If this board, I repeat, if this board after the festive period, comes back to resume here, we would resume before them. Let me tell you that this protest you see here today, is a warning protest. You will see a mother protest in January, if this board attempts to resume work in January”, he vowed.