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NDDC: Ikwerre ethnic group demand to be included in agency, tell gov’t to reconstitue board

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The Ikwerre Peoples Congress (IPC), a South South socio-ethnic and socio-political group has demanded to be included in the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as of their right.

They have also backed the ultimatum issued the Federal Government to reconstitute the board of NDDC by ex-agitators, or risk protest, saying that the ethnic group can no long sit to watch the NDDC being overseen by an individual and some cabals who have turned the agency into a cashcow for their selfish reasons.

The IPC in a statement made available to CAPITAL POST in Abuja, sent a strong warning that they have the capacity to drive home their demands like any other ethnic groups in Nigeria, should the Federal government take this demand for granted.

The statement which was signed by the Chairman of the group, Livingstone Wechie and three others decried that the manner with which the agency is being run was unknown to law establishing the Act, hence, government should intervene in the interest of peace and development of the region.

The statement read: “Whereas we are fully mobilised to drive home our demands like any other ethnic nationality even though we are currently alligned with our counterparts, may we caution that we have the capacity to rightfully shut down the NDDC administrative facilities.

“We have continued to play host to their headquarters in our land from inception with nothing to show for it, but for the records, our peaceful and diplomatic disposition should not be mistaken for weakness.

“It is our view that the failure by the federal government to reconstitute the Board has resulted in suspected impropriety which has reduced the Commission to an enterprise of a few, thus betraying the original purpose of its establishment.

“We warn that the federal government should stop manipulating the Act establishing the NDDC but comply thereto in the interest of peace and development of the region.

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“It must be further advanced that the NDDC which is a product of struggle has been criminally hijacked by enemy forces and questionable characters within and outside the region to serve as a political cashcow to selfish politicians at the detriment of the core mandates of the Commission and the People.

“We insist that the control of the NDDC must be immediately restored to the people of the region in line with the extant Act in force.

“This is because we have resolved forthwith as a region to see only an NDDC that delivers on its core mandate and development that engineered the struggle ab initio.

“The Ikwerre People’s Congress IPC Worldwide, the Socioeconomic/Sociopolitical platform for Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality supports the ultimatum issued to the Federal Government for the reconstitution of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC after many years of one-man Management system unknown to Law.

“This legitimate position is in solidarity and pursuant to the demand by our counterparts and stakeholders in the region for the purpose of our desired development.

“This is to the effect that all Stakeholder have been denied their statutory entitlement and this is only aimed at further compromising the Commission and destabilising the Niger Delta region in general. IPC warns that we shall no longer tolerate this veiled conspiracy against our region.

“IPC in agreement with our people in the diaspora hereby commends the strategic actions of our Ijaw brothers for their role in championing the demand for the reconstitution of the NDDC Board which is long overdue.

“We particularly commend the renowned Niger Delta Agitator from Gbaramatu Kingdom, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo for insisting that the NDDC Board must be reconstituted within the issued ultimatum and we agree with him.

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“He has acted statesmanly for mobilising the region at this time to assert our dignity from those who seek to mischievously repress our rights.

“This is a position we share because Chief Ekpemupolo spoke the mind of the entire Niger Delta region and we are not going back on it.

“Going forward, the people of this region must now mobilise and resist all attempts to short-change our people from our statutory entitlements by those known blackl-egs planted amongst us to sabotage our development and blackmail the region.

The group berated the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpbio for not reconstituting the board for years describing his acrion as criminal and shortchange of the people.

“IPC holds that the failure of the Federal Government and the Honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio in not reconstituting the NDDC Board for years now is criminal and deliberate.

“It can only be a setup aimed at undermining the Niger Delta people and pocketting such an important Agency as if they are doing the region a favour.

“Ikwerre, a major contributor to the National purse, a leading Oil and Gas Producing and Critical stakeholder-ethnic nationality played key roles as well as paid the highest price along with our brethren of other ethnic nations particularly the Ijaws, Isokos, Urhobos, Itsekiris for the establishment of the NDDC and other agencies.

“We view the attitude of government towards the Niger Delta at this time as most irresponsible and unfortunate.

“This is considering the fact that Nigeria depends on the Oil and Gas from the Lower Niger to survive but at this time anything less of our entitlement, we will not take it anymore.

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“This is to the effect that all Stakeholders have been denied their statutory entitlement and this is only aimed at further compromising the Commission and destabilising the Niger Delta region in general.

“IPC warns that we shall no longer tolerate this veiled conspiracy against our region.

“IPC in agreement with our people in the diaspora hereby commends the strategic actions of our Ijaw brothers for their role in championing the demand for the reconstitution of the NDDC Board which is long overdue.

“We particularly commend the renowned Niger Delta Agitator from Gbaramatu Kingdom, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo for insisting that the NDDC Board must be reconstituted within the issued ultimatum and we agree with him.”

The IPC further asserted that they would mobilise against what they claimed as a cheat against the people of the region.

The statement continued:”It is the position of IPC that the Act Establishing the NDDC must be fully complied with on the appointment of Board and Management of the Commission.

“The situation where the Honourable Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who himself is a leader unfortunately so in the region, runs the NDDC exclusively at his behest in alliance with some power brokers in the Presidency will no longer be tolerated.

“We are not a region to be taken for granted as the Minister and his cohorts have sought to do in recent times.

“IPC therefore charges the entire Niger Delta region not to back down on our joint stance but rise in unity to non-negotiably take full charge of the NDDC by insisting that it must be insulated from political shenanigans and merchants if its core mandate must be achieved.

“We shall no longer accept to be treated like strangers in our own project and stake”, the statement concluded.

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