The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has again frowned at the lingering delay by President Muhammadu Buhari to put in place a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The IYC, in a statement released in Yenagoa on Sunday, September 26, expressed resentment that despite the outcry by critical stakeholders from the Niger Delta, Buhari is yet to constitute the board, even after the submission of the long-awaited forensic audit report.
National Spokesman of the IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, who signed the statement urged the President to constitute the NDDC board without further delay.
The IYC argued that the quick decision of the President to constitute the EFCC board, the NNPC board and other boards of agencies and parastatals showed that his position on the conduct of the forensic audit and submission of the report were mere excuses and cover-up of his disdain for the people of the region.
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The group noted that though the region has remained peaceful despite the repeated failed promises on the inauguration of the substantive board, the youth of the region would no longer condone excuses for the delay as the forensic auditors had concluded their job.
It said: “The NDDC was set up to plan and execute developmental projects in the region, especially in the areas of skills acquisition and youth empowerment programmes, construction of roads and jetties, provision of health care facilities, employment, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and industrialisation.
“We can categorically say that the region has lost greatly in the aforementioned due to the deliberate delay of the constitution of the board.
“Let it be on record that since President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the NDDC has been functioning without recourse to the Act which established it and that has contributed largely to the underdevelopment of the region despite the forensic audit which was used as an excuse for the delay of a substantive board.
“Notwithstanding the decision of the Ijaw youths to study carefully the submitted audit report which showed that over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta with 77 road projects completed, the reported claim of recommendation for a part-time membership of the board is unacceptable. It is a violation of the provision of the Act setting up the NDDC and we will resist it at all costs”.
It also pointed out that the alleged recommendation for a part-time membership of the NDDC board was the handiwork of self-styled politicians who desired to turn the NDDC as their own personal enterprise.
The apex Ijaw youth body warned that any strange clauses smuggled into the NDDC aside the constitution of a substantive board would be resisted and the activities of the commission crippled.