Ijaw youths lock NDDC office in Bayelsa, protest FG’s failure to constitute agency’s board
Members of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) have locked the office of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Bayelsa state over the federal government’s failure to constitute the agency’s board.
The youths, who staged a protest in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Wednesday morning, also blocked some roads leading to the office.
This follows the expiration of the one-month ultimatum which they had given to the federal government to constitute a governing board for the NDDC.
They accused the Buhari administration of undue interference in failing to constitute the board.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in January 2019, ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019.
He said what is on the ground in the Niger Delta does not justify the huge resources that have been made available to the commission.
In October 2019, Buhari appointed an interim committee to oversee the affairs of the commission, pending the conclusion of the agency’s audit.
Kemebradikumo Pondei was later appointed as the new acting managing director, but he was removed months after federal lawmakers accused him of mismanaging NDDC funds.
The president subsequently appointed Effiong Akwa, acting executive director of finance and administration of the commission, as the new head of the agency.
Akwa was directed to be in charge of the agency’s affairs until the completion of the forensic audit ordered by the president.
In April when they issued the ultimatum, Peter Igbifa, IYC president, had said: “Council will definitely shut down the entire region if Mr President fails to deliver on or before one month from today. This message must be taken very seriously. You can understand it is constitutional; when they constitute this board, it brings representation from different states.”
He had also said the constitution of the board will aid the empowerment of youths in the region, adding that the IYC will ensure the NDDC is not controlled by politicians.