From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Zonal and chapter chairmen of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has denied calling for the removal of the newly appointed Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Develolment Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
In a protest letter purportedly addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Forum of IYC Zonal and Chapter Chairmen (FIZCC) threatened to shut down the headquarters of the NDDC, if the demand for the removal of Akwa and Akpabio was not met within seven days.
In a swift reaction, the Chairman of FIZCC, Henry Oyobolo and the Secretary of the forum, James Tobin, who were said to have appended their signatures to the letter, denied it.
Oyobolo, who is also the Chairman, IYC Lagos zone and Tobin, who heads the Eastern zone, disassociated themselves from the call for immediate sacking of Akwa and Akpabio.
In a letter of disclaimer addressed to the Office of the President, the duo said: “We hereby use this medium to disassociate ourselves ( Chairmen of IYC Zonal and Chapters Forum) from any publication being circulated by some persons or groups asking for the immediate sacking of the newly appointed Sole Administrator of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the immediate removal of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio”.
They, however, backed the council for asking the Federal Government to appoint a substantive managing director and a board to run the affairs of the NDDC.
But the Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw (WPI) observed with dismay what it described as unnecessary and unwarranted protests in some sections of the Niger Delta region over Akwa’s appointment.
The WPI, in a statement signed by is Coordinator, Lambert Olambo, said it was disturbing that most of the demonstrations including the recent blockade of the Mbiama axis of the East-West road emanated from the Ijaw-speaking part of the Niger Delta.