Ijaw Youths: Extending NDDC Board’s Tenure Will Stoke Crisis in N’Delta

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Emmanuel Addeh

The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide thursday warned against any attempt to extend the tenure of the current board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), describing the move as capable of causing fresh crisis in the region.

There had been conflicting signals from the Presidency over whether the term of the Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba-led board had expired.

While the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) had clarified that there was no tenure extension, but a continuation of its term, a memo issued by former government scribe, Babachir Lawal, said their tenure expired early November.

But the umbrella body of Ijaw youths advised the federal government to respect the Act establishing the commission, insisting that any attempt to elongate the tenure of the current board would jeopardise the peace in the region.
The Secretary-General of IYC, Mr. Alfred Kemepado, who spoke in Yenagoa, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on persons pushing for the extension to drop the idea in the interest of peace and stability of the Niger Delta.

The Ijaw youths maintained that by the letters of the Act establishing the commission, Ndoma-Egba’s board was appointed to complete the existing tenure of its predecessor as stipulated in his engagement letter.
“The presidency is instigating crisis in the Niger Delta region. We are warning the SGF to tread carefully and desist from acts capable of causing rest crisis in the Niger Delta region.

“We saw the appointment letter and it was clearly stated that the current board was appointed to serve out the tenure of the administration it took over from. It was clear and lacked ambiguity. Their tenure has expired and they should bow out.

“By our calculation, the tenure of the current board has expired and they should vacate their offices for a fresh board to take over. Staying a day beyond their tenure is an act of corruption which this administration is fighting against,” he said.

The youth leader called on anti-corruption agencies in the country to wade in and investigate why there were conflicting statements from the Presidency and the spending the board has undertaken since inauguration.

“We are asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin investigation of this board because we heard that they are spending a lot of money to ensure they sit tight in office.

“The presidency should graciously appoint a new board as stipulated in the laws and practice of NDDC. It is now the turn of Bayelsa State to produce the Managing Director of the commission,” the IYC said.