The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) yesterday faulted the appointment of a Sole Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), stressing that the appointment would aid the re-looting of the billions of naira recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
President Buhari had on Saturday appointed Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa as the NDDC’s Interim Administrator, sacking the Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondeiled Interim Management Committee (IMC).
Akwa, who is the former Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Commission, is expected to run the commission’s affairs till the end of the ongoing forensic auditing.
However, IYC through its spokesman, Ebilade Erekefe, noted that although President Buhari has the prerogative to hire and fire, it faulted the deci- sion to sack the Pondei-led IMC without setting up a substantive management board.
Ekerefe noted that the President’s action runs contrary to the happenings in the Niger Delta region, considering the recent calls by South-South stakeholders and governors in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on the need for a substantive management board for the NDDC to accelerate the development in the region.
Ekerefe said the appointment “is a deliberate act of encouraging the re-looting of billions of naira recovered by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) from contractors.”
The IYC also hinted that the National Assembly minority caucus, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) and many other stakeholders from the region had called for the appointment of a substantive board for the Commission.
He said: “Under the present administration of President Buhari, it has become a pattern that all appointments that are supposed to benefit the people of the Niger Delta region directly have been temporary, instead of substantive, whereas in the North where the president comes from, that is not the situation.
“This attitude of undermining the Niger Delta region with contempt by the Federal Government is gradually signaling signs of obscurities.
Therefore, if deliberate steps are not taken to renew the confidence of trust between the region and the Federal Government, the situation will spiral and get out of control, while all efforts stakeholders put in the stabilisation of the region would be defeated.”
Besides, the group alleged that huge sum of money spent to ensure that “the appointment of the Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Akwa Efiong Okon, a brother and kinsman to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs scales through as the Sole Administrator to oversee the NDDC and endorsed by the President.
He added: “This is a President, who talks about fighting corruption, but right under his nose, appointments are given to the highest bidder without his knowledge.