Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, led by the South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, put in place a substantive management and governing board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NNDC in line with the Act establishing the interventionist agency. Rising from its extraordinary meeting in Abuja yesterday, PANDEF while describing the appointment of Interim Administrators for the NDDC as awful, said that the people of the Niger Delta are tired of having Administrators rather that substantive management running the affairs of the agency. President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday sacked the Interim Administrator of NDDC,Effiong Akwa and directed the most senior director in the commission, Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, to take over the running of its affairs.
In a Communique at the end of the meeting, the group said, “PANDEF received news of the sack of Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa, interim administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) today (Thursday) and the subsequent appointment of Engr. Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, from Delta State, to head the commission pending the appointment of a substantive management team and governing board. “PANDEF notes that Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa was the 3rd interim head of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in about three years; describes the situation as awful and hopes that the substantive management and governing board for the Commission will be constituted, in line with the NDDC Act, without further delay.” The Communique was signed by PANDEF’s National Leader, ChiefEdwin Kiagbodo Clark; PANDEF’s National Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien; Board of Trustees, BoT member, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw; National Woman Leader, Dame Betty Igbeyi; Member, Advisory Council, Chief Denzil Amagbe Kentebe and the National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson.
PANDEF has also cautioned the federal government against what it described as any ill-advised plan to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme against the backdrop of rumours that the government was scheduling to wind up the programme before the end of the Buhari administration. The group warned that considerations that the Presidential Amnesty programme could be scrapped due to a pipeline Surveillance contract awarded to a private firm, are not only illogical but unacceptable, even as it said that the Amnesty Programme was put in place to promote peace and stability in the Niger Delta, adding that any attempt to prematurely end the programme would be detrimental to the peace and stability of the Niger Delta. It said, “PANDEF cautions the federal government against any ill-advised plan to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme given the rumours that the government is scheduling to wind up the programme before the end of the Buhari administration;
“The meeting further warns that considerations that the Presidential Amnesty programme could be scrapped due to a pipeline Surveillance contract awarded to a private firm, are not only illogical but unacceptable; Notes that the Amnesty Programme was an intervention to promote peace and stability in the Niger Delta; thus, any attempt to prematurely end the programme would be detrimental to the peace and stability of the Niger Delta; Going forward, the Amnesty Programme should be extended to include the full re-integration of all beneficiaries.” While condemning the high level of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta, the criminal act of oil theft that has led to what it described as dwindling revenue for Nigeria as a country and sabotaging its economy, PANDEF called on President Buhari to immediately carry out a full scale investigation into the matter, with a view to dealing with those involved and there should be no sacred cows.
The leaders said, “PANDEF joins all well-meaning Nigerians to express total shock over the recent startling revelations of massive and systematic oil theft. “Commends the efforts of Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) and the youths of the Niger Delta, who by their diligence and patriotic zeal, recently uncovered the mind-boggling mechanisms of those pillaging our oil resources. With the admission by the management of the NNPC, of the existence of the sophisticated syndicate, which for several decades, has continued to siphon the wealth of the country; PANDEF calls for an apology to the people of the Niger Delta, who have been falsely accused over the years. Urges the President as substantive Minister of Petroleum, to urgently take steps to launch a full-scale investigation into this matter, including constituting a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to ascertain the perpetrators of this outrageous thievery. THERE MUST BE NO SACRED COWS! This huge state of oil theft further re-enforces our call for True Federalism to afford our people better participation in the operations and management of the wealth in the Niger Delta. We further request the Federal Government to set up the mechanism for setting up modular refineries around the Niger Delta to bring an effective end to artisanal refining.”