Niger Delta Youths under the aegis of the South-South Youths Initiative (SSYI), yesterday, protested against Federal Government’s failure to constitute a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The youths, who staged the protest at the NDDC Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, was working against the development of the region.
National Coordinator of the group, Imeabe Saviour Oscar, said the delay in constituting a substantive board for the commission was not in the interest of the region, lamenting that Akpabio’s actions was frustrating development activities in the region.
“All we are asking is that the NDDC under Akpabio, should immediately constitute a substantive Board for the NDDC. He assured us that the board will be constituted on July 30, 2021 and we have been waiting. But instead of constituting the board, a Sole Administrator still runs the commission.
“It is unfortunate that Akpabio has chosen to play games with the Niger Delta people. We thought that as someone from the region, he would work to ensure a board for the Commission to boost development and create employment,” he stated.
Oscar lamented that the Federal Government pays attention to the demands of the region only when there are protests, insisting that the protests would continue until their demands were met.
“It is now very clear that we don’t have a responsible government, because if we do we will not protest for the right things to be done. We are only asking for the constitution of the board, but because of his selfish interest he (Akpabio) has decided to keep the region disorganised.
“He has slowed down the development and activities of the Niger Delta people. He wants us to shut down the office before he will do the right thing. This is Day One of this protest and we will continue the demonstration, because he has failed to listen to the Niger Delta people,” he stressed.
The youths also alleged that since Akpabio took over at the ministry, NDDC had employed 1, 000 persons from Akwa Ibom and appointed Effiong Akwa from his state as Sole Administrator.
“There are nine states under the Commission, but Akpabio has converted the Commission to this personal estate,” they said.