By Chuks Okocha
The host community of the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, Oron in Akwa Ibom State, has risen to the defence of Akwa’s appointment, warning that violence should not be seen as a monopoly of any community in the Niger Delta area.
They also disclaimed the allegation that Akwa was imposed by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, describing it as false.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the President of Oron Union, Remigius Edebianga, and the General Secretary of the union, Asukwo Unuyu, said the NDDC sole administrator was first appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2020 to fill the position of the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, which was vacant following the death of the EDFA, Mr. Ibanga Etang, in the recently dissolved Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the commission.
According the Oron Union, “The president’s appointment of Efiong Akwa as the sole administrator of the NDDC followed a High Court judgment, which declared Professor Keme Pondei-led IMC of the NDDC illegal.
“Since Akwa was not joined in the suit, it therefore became expedient for the president to elevate him to that position to engender continuity and stability in the management of the NDDC. It is therefore a figment of imagination and insults to the person of the president for anybody to think that Akpabio was now the one dictating and tele-guiding him.”
They further declared as false the allegation that the NDDC sole administrator is not from an oil-producing community in the Niger Delta as provided in the NDDC Act, stating that it is infantile and farther from the truth.
The Oron Union said: “The true position is that Akwa is from Oron, a major oil-producing community in Akwa Ibom State in the Niger Delta region.”
The people of Oron community said they are the biggest oil community in the Niger Delta, producing more than 30 percent of the oil in the region.
They stated that in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) data “it is clear that Oron community is an oil-producing community per se. In terms of crude oil output, factual records show that Akwa Ibom State accounts for over 40 percent of the total crude oil output in the Niger Delta region with over 80 percent of that from Oron, where Akwa hails from.
“Invariably, Oron community has over 30 percent of the total crude oil output in Nigeria. More than any other group in the region,” stating that Oron suffers untold marginalisation by successive governments in the state and Nigeria.
However, they said in the face of “this monumental injustice continuously meted out on Oron people, the Oron community has always abhorred violence and embraced intellectual and peaceful struggle in its quest for justice, equity and fair play.
“The appointment of Akwa, an illustrious son of Oron as the sole administrator of the NDDC should be applauded by every right-thinking Niger Deltan as the right step to right the monumental injustices perpetrated against the people of Oron.”
They therefore warned that “The fact that Oron community has not destroyed oil pipelines, kidnapped expatriates, unleash violence and engaged in criminalities does not make it less the major oil-producing community in Nigeria, and should not be taken for weakness.”
The union also said the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Akpabio, should be commended for his ongoing efforts to sanitise and reposition the NDDC in order to deliver on the mandate that informed its establishment, stating: “We will therefore resist any attempt to attack this illustrious son of the Niger Delta and statesman.”