Edo Youths Shut Down NDDC Office, Call For Akpabio’s Resignation
… Give Minister 72 Hours To r To Address Their Plights
By Iduozee Efe Paul, Benin
There was heavy traffic and slow vehicular movement at Third East Circular Road, Benin city, as a youth group, Edo Restoration Movement, shut down the Edo State office of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over claims of marginalization of Edo people.
Commenting on why the NDDC office was locked, spokesperson for the Edo Restoration Movement (ERM), Thaddeus Irabor, said that at present, there has been no tangible NDDC project in Edo State since the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio became the sole administrator of the commission.
Irabor said: “We are here today because of how Edo State had been sidelined in NDDC. Senator Akpabio has so much marginalized us in NDDC. Go and check the list of contractors, you will not see any Edo person there. Contracts have been awarded without any impact in Edo State.
“During COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the NDDC budgeted billions of naira for palliatives; no palliatives were given to Edo State. Senator Godswill Akpabio is operating NDDC as his own personal business. He cannot use NDDC for his own personal and political ambition.
“Edo State is the fifth oil and gas producer in Nigeria yet there is no presence of NDDC projects in the state. That is why we are here to shut down the Commission’s office. We want Akpabio to reconstitute the board of NDDC and make Edo person the managing director. Failure to listen to us, we will protest and block all the major roads that lead to Edo State”.
“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, commissioner of Police, the State Security Service and other security agencies to be on alert of our demands. NDDC funds are not meant for stealing but for the development of oil producing states. We call for the resignation of Godswill Akpabio,” he added.
Secretary General of Edo Restoration Movement (ERM), Comrade Ben Bowei, called for the immediate resignation of the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and a quick reconstitution of the NDDC board.
Said he, “Today, we are here to take over the NDDC office in Edo State. We have been marginalized by the Commission led by Godswill Akpabio. We are part of the Niger Delta and we must put an end to this injustice.
“Edo has the largest deposit of gas in West Africa. We are saying that Edo must produce the managing director of NDDC. Recently, the minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio visited oil producing states in Nigeria, he didn’t visit Edo State, that is an insult to us. We will not allow it to happen again.
” Akpabio must resign and be probed. He must come to Edo State and address us. If he fails to come, we will shut down all the major roads that lead to the state, especially the East West road. We give him 72 hours to address our plights, if he refuses, we will resort to action”.
Public Relations Officer of the group, Comrade Tosan Nosa Ailodion questioned the legality of the interim leadership of the NDDC.
“The current board of NDDC is illegal because it is contrary to the Act that established the commission. President Buhari should reconstitute the board and make Edo person the managing director. Since the establishment of the NDDC Edo person has not been MD,” he noted.
He called on NDDC to work with Governor Obaseki to lift the state.
“We call on President Buhari to tell Senator Akpabio to stop using NDDC funds for his own personal gain. We have a governor that is working, if NDDC complements the governor, Edo State will be a little Dubai.
“We call on all security agencies to intervene. Failure to address our demands, we will shut down all the roads that lead to Edo State. It is illegal to create sole administrator in NDDC, it contradicts the Act that established the commission,” he stressed.
An ex- officio of the group, Hon. Efosa Eghianruwa, expressed disappointment that Senator Godswill Akpabio has excluded the state from the NDDC board.
” Senator Akpabio has marginalized Edo State in the Commission. He is doing this because of his personal ambition. We give him 72 hours to address our problem, if he refuses, we will protest and block every road that leads into Edo State,” he said.