Angry protesters have sealed off with charms, the main gate of the office of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) located in Igbokoda, headquarters of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, thereby preventing staff from entering and paralysing activities at the office.
The protesters say they want President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive NDDC Board and appoint an Ondo State indegine from the Ilaje or Ese-odo to head it, while stressing that it is the turn of the state to head the board.
This is coming few days after the threat issued by former Niger Delta warlord, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, regarding the immediate inauguration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board.
The youth under the auspices of Ilaje Advancement Forum, Niger Delta Youth Movement and Ijaw Youth Council were armed with placard having different inscriptions such as ‘Constitute a Substantive Board for NDDC’, ‘Akpabio must go’, ‘NDDC Is A Scam’, ”NDDC Is A Curse To Ilaje’, among others chanting solidarity songs”.
Comrade Adebanjo Adewale, Speaking on behalf of Ilaje Advancement Forum, decried the high number of projects abandoned by the NDDC in Ilaje community and noted that it has hampered development, pointing to Ayetoro community which is on the brink of extinction because of the persistence of the sea incursions.
“Our agitation is stem on the way Akpabio and his cohorts has turned NDDC to a sole proprietorship dealing. For the past two years, Akpabio said NDDC as a board is carrying out an audit, we do not know the kind of auditors that will take two years to audit the account of NDDC”.
Adebanjo said, “Our bone of contention is that the board must be constituted and inaugurated with immediate effect because it is not in the interest of the nine Niger Delta State for a single man to be controlling our faith”.
He said, “Here in Ilaje and Ese Odo, we have been abandoned and neglected by the state government. Twice, the Ayetoro sea embarkment was awarded by NDDC, nothing has been done, they succeeded in embezzling the money, at our own detriment”.
Also, the Chairman of Niger Delta Youth Movement in Ondo State, Badejo Samuel said lots of multi-billion naira projects are currently littering the oil-producing communities and being abandoned by the NDDC.
Badejo revealed that most staff at the NDDC office in Igbokoda are from the northern and central senatorial district of the state, at the neglect of graduates who are from the oil producing area of Ilaje and Ese-odo.
The state coordinator of Ijaw Youth Council explained that NDDC has not done any meaningful project in Ilaje for years and yet his people are suffering.
One of the protesters, Ebiniyi Busayo said that the youth in the communities give the Federal Government more three days to do the needful or see their wrath.