Fresh crisis that may likely lead to break down of law and order is looming in oil producing communities in the Niger Delta. Investigations have revealed that the looming crisis is connected to the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari in constituting the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
It has also been gathered that three groups have been formed under different aegis, who are allegedly regrouping and perfecting plans to block the East-West road linking the South-West and South-East to the South-South to express their protest against what they described as unnecessary delay in constituting the NDDC board.
Also, one of the leaders who simply identified himself as Ebiegberi Kalatin, alleged that plans have also been perfected to vandalize pipelines going to the North, an action which according to him, was to teach Mr. President and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, a hard lesson.
He said, “Enough is Enough of the nonsense of their deceit and flimsy excuses over the delay in constituting the NDDC Board. They cannot continue to take oil producing communities for a ride. They cannot bribe all of us as they did to some ex-agitators to continue to have their way in keeping sole administrators and convert the NDDC to their personal fish pond at the expense of oil producing communities”.
Kalatin described the appointment of sole administrator and care-taker-committee as a breach of the extant law setting up the agency and total aberration to democratic regime and a dark spot on the change mantra of the APC led federal government.
Investigation further revealed that a group which calls itself Niger Delta Peace and Security Initiative, NDPSI, held a meeting in Port Harcourt over a week ago to fine tune the plans to carry out wide range of activities aim at resuming militant activities to send a strong signal to Senator Godswill Akpabio and his conspirators in the presidential Villa.
A source at the NDPSI meeting who preferred to be anonymous said those who attended the meeting comprising people cutting across Niger Delta were unanimous in accusing Godswill Akpabio and some very close personal aides of President Muhammadu Buhari of working with hands in gloves in frustrating the good intentions of Mr. President to constitute the NDDC Board.
The source also disclosed that some of the close aides of the President are alleged to be in the payroll of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, of which the minister had continued to enjoy their patronage to frustrate the larger interest of the people of Niger Delta.
He further hinted that the climax of the various meetings culminated in a vow to cause mayhem in the Niger Delta except Mr. President intervenes to rescue the situation without any further delay in constituting the NDDC board, stating that they do not need any bribe from anybody to withdraw their action but to do the needful in line with the general aspirations of the people of oil producing communities in Niger Delta.
According to an APC chieftain from the South-South, there is palpable fear in the Niger Delta as electioneering campaign draw close, of possible rejection of the party at the forthcoming general election because of the delay in constituting the NDDC board.
He said, “We are all living in fear, that if any fresh militancy resumes as groups are beginning to beat war drums to carry out plans to vandalize pipelines and blocking of highways at the East-West road, it will be too bad because of the self serving agenda of few individuals who were not involved in the struggle to restore peace in the Niger Delta”.
Another source close to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs who spoke in confidence, said that he has personally talked to the Minister and advised him to be mindful of the danger ahead of the looming crisis and pleaded with him to prevail on Mr. President to immediately constitute the board.
According to him, Akpabio simply absolved himself of any blame, stating that Niger Delta people should rather hold Mr. President responsible over the delay in constituting the board, adding that the appointment is within the power and prerogative of the President the bulk stops on his table, warning that nobody should blame him as he is a mere appointee of the President.
Meanwhile, indications further emerged that a tripartite meeting of the three groups agitating for the constitution of the board will hold another meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital as a follow up to effect their plan protest actions.
It will be recalled that in 2016, a new group of agitators under the platform of Avengers resumed militancy which shutdown crude oil production from 2.2 to 1.4.
According to sources, it took some selfless Nigerians like former Military Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar, a former member of National Assembly, one Honourable Farouk, Major General J.M. Ogidi who was the arrow head, Late Chief Alfred Bubo, Chief Gbenekami Godspower who swiftly intervened at high risk by going to the high seas to meet the agitators to sheath their sword and peace was finally restored.
Critical stakeholders in Niger Delta are therefore appealing to Mr. President to be wary of fifth columnists and write his name in gold by reconstituting the NDDC board without any further excuse.