Ijaw youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have described as deceitful and diversionary the comments attributed to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over the possible constitution of a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission in April 2021 after the forensic audit of the commission.
Akpabio is reportedly said to have made the comment on Wednesday in Abuja while receiving the interim report of the commission from the forensic auditors.
A statement by the National Spokesman of the Ijaw Youths Council, Ebilade Erekefe, on Friday insisted that the appointment of a sole administrator, which had triggered protests in the region was ordered by a Court and not the Federal Government.
Erekefe, while reacting to Akpabio’s statement, described the claim on the possible constitution of a substantive board as a deceitful way to divert the attention of the people of the Niger Delta region from agitation against the appointment of a sole administrator and shutting down the headquarters of the commission.
According to him, the only reason that will stop the protest is for President Muahammadu Buhari to do the right thing by appointing the substantive Board in NDDC that will carry out it functions properly.
He said: “We are calling on every well-meaning Ijaw youths not to be distracted by the statement of Peter Igbifa, which does not reflect the decision of council, while he has refused to react to the allegation of buying the position of the Sole Administrator of the NDDC with N3.5 billion from some aides of President Buhari.
“The announcement made by Femi Adesina on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari is a clear indication that the sole administrator was concocted by the Federal Government on the financial prompting of the minister.
“We also want to put on record that since the agitation and anger is being expressed by stakeholders from the region, we have noticed a desperate the attempt by the embattled Sole Administrator, Mr Okon Akwa Effiong and his god father, to be desperately spending money to divide the youths of the region and their leadership, including the IYC.
“We are resolute and demand the immediate constitution of the board. If it is the court that ordered such, why are they desperately spending the NDDC fund to buy conscience and divide the region?
“The only reason that will stop the protest is for President Muhammadu Buhari to do the right thing by appointing the substantive board in NDDC that will carry out it functions properly.
“We are calling on every well-meaning Ijaw youths not to be distracted by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, which does not address the decision of Council on the issue of an immediate constitution of a substantive NDDC board.”
Efereke also dismissed the claim by Akpabio on the protests by Ijaw Youths in Abuja and some parts of the Niger Delta region.
He said: “The protests are borne out of genuine desires of the Ijaw youths to demand for a substantive board that will facilitate development in the Niger Delta region.
“It is a people-driven and people-oriented protest that cannot be cancelled by anybody who has never been a part of the ongoing protests in the region.
“The protest will go on according to plans as all structures of council have been fully notified for the shut down and they are all ready and waiting for the signal.”