From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Niger Delta Volunteers for Good Governance (NDVGG) vowed on Wednesday to team up with the ex-Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, aka ‘Tompolo’, to crash the Nigerian economy should the federal government fail to reconstitute a new board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Tompolo had last Sunday issued a 7-day ultimatum to the federal government to inaugurate a substantive Board for the NDDC, threating to crash the economy, particularly in the Niger Delta, if the demand is not met.
NDVGG President Ben Bowei, aka ‘Lord Mayor I of Niger Delta’, who gave the warning in Benin, said after exhausting all the available avenues for consultations, the group had no option but to join forces with other groups, particularly the ex-militant leader, in calling for justice.
Bowei, a former National Treasurer, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), who also doubles as the Secretary-General, Edo Restoration Movement, explained that the decision to back Tompolo became necessary taking into consideration ‘the injustice meted on the people of the Niger Delta.’
‘We have come to the conclusion that after the 7-day ultimatum given to the federal government by our well-respected leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, elapses, we are going to crumble all economic activities particularly oil exploration in the entire Niger Delta region,’ Bowei stated.
‘We have vowed to shut down all facilities which will crumble the economy of the nation unless the federal government does the needful by correcting the injustice meted on the people of the Niger Delta.
‘Enough of this injustice done to us in our region. We will not accept any longer, and I mean it! A single individual cannot take a whole region made up of millions of people for granted. We are demanding that a substantive board for the NDDC be inaugurated immediately else, the government will see our other side. We are not joking. Immediately after the 7-day ultimatum elapses, we are going to strike.’
Bowei further vowed to take over the East-West Road and NDDC office in Benin should the federal government fail to set up the NDDC board, pointing out that the act that established the Commission does not recognise the position of Sole Administrator.
Bowei and his Edo Restoration Movement, led by its President, Honesty Agingbatse, had some months ago protested the situation in the NDDC where he demanded that a substantive board be set up for the NDDC as required by the act.
During the protest, the group took over the NDDC office in Benin.