The Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Areas Landlords’ Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), has written President Muhammadu Buhari on the inability of the region’s robust interventionist scheme – the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC), to deliver. It alleged that this is “due to the greed and corruption perpetuated by a powerful corrupt elite class that has completely hijacked the interventionist programme at the expense of vulnerable local communities that bear the brunt of acute environmental impacts.”
The letter signed by the association’s President/Chairman, BoT, Bishop Udo Azogu and its National Secretary, Prof Eyo Etim Nyong, OMPALAN said: “We wish to alert your office that the hard-earned peace process in the Niger Delta region is collapsing progressively in the region giving rise to resumption of hostilities and all forms of criminality.
“A survey by OMPALAN indicates that the tiny but, powerful corrupt elite class that operates clandestinely in the region has completely hijacked the running of the interventionist scheme to the extent that it has been rendered moribund and cannot deliver.
“Presently, the commission is fraught with corruption and can only be remedied by completely overhauling the system and reverting religiously to the act establishing it especially on the issue of rotation of the high offices of Chairman, Managing Director and two Executive Directors of Project and Finance to give member states a sense of belonging and equity as provided in the NDDC Act.
“The present leadership of the commission as currently announced, does not tally with the zoning formula establishing the act. This ugly development has dire consequences on the peace, security and stability of the embattled region as opponents of your administration are focusing on exploiting the gap to stoke tension in the region.”
Azogu asserted that “discerning Nigerians know that President Buhari is not privy to the recent appointments of NDDC board members because in Imo State, a person who was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan into the board in 2013 and was sacked by Buhari in 2015 for non-performance was recycled into the present NDDC Board to represent Imo State even when his immediate successor on the board in 2015 came from the same Izombe clan.
“This shameful act was enabled at the behest of corrupt and discredited politicians working in concert with subversive elements in the Presidency. This ugly development will work against Mr President’s much publicised ‘Next-Level Project,’ which requires visionary leadership at all levels to drive.”
OMPALAN advised Buhari to identify and bring to book the corrupt officials within the Presidency behind the embarrassing appointments: “To prevent the embattled region from slipping into anarchy we are passionately advising Mr President to dissolve the commission with a view to redressing the anomaly. This will help to restore sanity in the commission and give it the impetus to deliver the goods to a highly expectant public.”