Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Ex-agitators in the Niger Delta under the aegis of Iduwini Volunteer Force (IVF) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
The former agitators who made the demand in a statement by their leader, Mr. Johnson Biboye warned that an Interim Management Committee (IMC) the minister set up to run the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had been upsetting the peace in the volatile regional.
They therefore urged Buhari to return the NDDC to the presidency.
The statement described the three-man committee as a “smoke screen put in place to cover up huge financial atrocities that had been committed by notable figures in the Niger Delta, Chief Godswill Akpabio, inclusive.”
The statement said: “Buhari should inaugurate the recently screened board while the services of a reputable and globally recognized accounting firm be employed for the forensic audit of the agency.
“In spite of your administration concerted desire to ensure that the underdevelopment challenges confronting the Niger Delta region is tackled with more seriousness, we are forced to report to you that activities of Akpabio is threatening the fragile peace in the Niger delta region.
“As a former governor, Akpabio is an interested and active participant in the multi-billion-naira fraud that took place in the NDDC. For such a person to be given the responsibility to superintend over such organisation, it is not only fraudulent but an invitation to avoidable crisis.
“Having critically reviewed the pathetic situation, the meeting resolved that the federal government should sack Akpabio as Minister of Niger delta Affairs and return the NDDC back to the Presidency to avoid selfishly motivated individuals from wanting to control the regional developmental agency.
“The meeting also resolved that the members of the NDDC Board that had been screened should be allowed to resume duty. The meeting asked the presidency to appoint a reputable and globally recognised accounting firm to carry out the proposed forensic probe.”
It further stated that failure to do the needful might compel the former agitators to return to the creeks.
According to the statement, while we look forward to your early resolution of this impending avoidable crisis we want to say that our present peaceful disposition should not be taken for weakness as we are still capable of striking when we are pushed to the wall.