Left : Effiong Akwa, Sole Administrator Niger Delta Development Commission during an interactive visit to Niger Delta Activist Ms. Annkio Briggs (Right) Photo: Dayo Williams
Newly appointed Sole Administrator of the troubled Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Effiong Akwa a consultative visit to Women in the Niger Delta on the development thrust of the Commission last week. The meeting held at the Port Harcourt home of Ms. Annkio Briggs, the convener of the women and women groups under the aegis of the Niger Delta Women Forum, NDWF.
Human and environmental rights activist Ms. Annkio Briggs, called on the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality and people of the Niger Delta to support the efforts of Effiong Akwa, newly appointed NDDC sole Administrator in his effort to develop the Niger Delta.
Briggs spoke during the interactive section when Akwa paid a consultative meeting at her home in Port Harcourt, with women from ethnic nationalities across the Niger Delta. She stated, “ There is no denying the fact that Ijaw people have contributed to the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Delta but at this particular time in our history, the Ijaw people should not be seen to start laying claim to the leadership of the NDDC.
“They should not be saying that an Isoko man, Ogoni man or Oron man should not be there. Akwa is already there and unless he is doing what is against the development of the Niger Delta, I will not oppose him.”
Ann-kio Briggs observed that some Ijaw people opposed former NDDC chief executives, such as Prof.
Kemebradikumo Pondei and Prof. Nelson Bambraifa, who were both Ijaws from Bayelsa State, stating: “So, it is not just about Akwa, it is about what we are doing to ourselves.”
She emphasized the imperative to end a practice of ignoring the contributions of women in the setting up of interventionist agencies such as the NDDC, the Presidential Amnesty Programme and others and the critical role they play in development. She also faulted the division in positions by the Ijaw Youth Council on the NDDC.
“The Ijaw Youth Council is being split in the middle. One section is writing for Akpabio, while another is writing against him. Do you see the people of North-East Development Commission writing against themselves? Why can we not learn?” she added.
L-R: Effiong Akwa, Ms. Irene Kalada Jumbo, Ms. Annkio Briggs and others
L-R Mrs. Rosemary John Oduone, president Ijaw Women Connect, IWC and Ms. Ibiba DonPedro, executive director, Niger Delta Women International Resource, Environment & Development Centre, NDWIRED CENTRE
Effiong Akwa in his address at the meet, spoke of his determination to end the culture of the NDDC expending resources without budgeting and failure to pay genuine contractors for years on end. He lauded the significant role Briggs played and still plays in efforts to address the challenges of the Niger Delta and described her as the, ‘Mother of the Niger Delta’.
The sole administrator informed the women of his administration’s focus on road construction, educational facilities, youth and women among others.
It is not clear however how long his tenure would last before the NDDC board which was inaugurated in 2019 is brought to life at the commission. A forensic audit of the Commission is ongoing in the meantime.