By Emmanuel Addeh
Host oil-producing communities Sunday demanded the return of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the purview of the presidency for proper supervision, rather than leaving it under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The communities under the Host Communities of Nigeria, Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON ), also called for the immediate inauguration of a substantive NDDC board to oversee the commission’s administration and clean up the current mess in the agency.
A statement by the National Director, Media and Publicity of the organisation, Mr Monday Whiskey, said the decision was arrived at after a meeting of the national leadership, including state chairmen, youth and women wing and selected leaders from the 10 oil producing states.
The states are Delta, Edo, Ondo, Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Abia and Imo.
Accordingly, the body said that it resolved that everyone who has been fingered in the sleaze that has bedevilled the interventionist agency must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“We hereby resolve as follows: That we demand without further delay, the return of the NDDC back to the presidency for proper administration and supervision.
“That we demand without further delay the immediate sack and prosecution of all the actors who perpetrated these heinous crimes against the people of the oil producing communities,” the body said.
Furthermore, HOSCON noted that it was becoming uncomfortable with the mind- boggling amounts being allegedly stolen in the agency and called for serious presidential intervention.
“We are no longer comfortable with the multi-billion naira fraud allegations that have bedevilled the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the kangaroo three-member Interim Management Committee (IMC) leading to wastage of over N80 billion.
“We demand without further delay that the already screened and confirmed board by the National Assembly under the chairmanship of Dr. Pius Odubu be urgently inaugurated to put a stop to this wanton wastage and outright stealing that is ongoing currently at the commission,” the group stated.
It said that the body had earlier raised the alarm in November 2019 that allowing the current Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, to control and dictate what happens in the NDDC will be to the detriment of the region.
It therefore called for the removal of the agency from under the ministry and return to the presidency where it hitherto resided, so that all the existing issues can be resolved by the president.
“HOSCON as the most formidable grassroots pressure group in the Niger Delta that has laboured so much to ensure sustainable peace in the region rich in oil and gas, will not sit aloof and allow some self-aggrandising political appointees that are selfishly motivated to set the region on fire,” it said.