From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ijaw youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, have accused the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, over extension of the tenure of the sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Efiong Akwa.
The IYC that described the tenure extension as illegal, said though the conduct of the forensic audit was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari and by supported stakeholders from the region, Akpabio has turned the forensic audit to an unending exercise to frustrate the inauguration of a substantive board of the commission as stipulated by the Act of the National Assembly.
IYC spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe, in a statement in Yenagoa, said instead of the submission of the audit report to President Buhari in April as promised and the constitution of the substantive board as demanded by stakeholders, Akpabio extended the date for the submission of the audit report from April to July and surreptitiously extended the tenure of the sole administrator.
Ebilade, who said Akpabio’s action amounts to the usurpation of the powers of President Buhari, said Akwa’s tenure extension is unacceptable and would be revisited by Ijaw youths.
He declared that in the light of Akpabio’s action, Ijaw youths have lost confidence in any report that will be submitted to President Buhari from the forensic audit.
“We no longer have confidence in the forensic audit because it is a mere ploy to pocket the NDDC under the whims and caprices of the minister in perpetuity.
“We note that the governors of the South South, under the chairmanship of Ifeanyi Okowa, should send a strong delegation to President Buhari and restate the position of the region over our displeasure and warn of the impending danger of not appointing a substantive board at a time other parts of the country are facing serious security crisis.
“From the beginning, we knew of the antics of the minister which was why we embarked on a peaceful protest last December on the East-West Road to express our concerns, but fifth columnist because of selfish interest within the region emboldened the minister to legitimise the illegitimate and today, they are all disappointed and now ready to join us in solidarity to resume the mother of all protest to the NDDC headquarters and other strategic Federal Government agencies in the Niger Delta to demand a governing board.