IYC suspends planned shutdown of NDDC head office

By Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, has suspended its plan to shut down headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the appointment of a sole administrator in the place of a substantive board.

Spokesperson for the IYC, Mr Ebilade Ekerefe, made this known during a news conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Sunday.

He said the suspension of the planned protest at the NDDC head office was due to the consultations with critical stakeholders and leaders of thoughts within the region and to allow the Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa, to superintend the conclusion of forensic audit of the commission.

Ekerefe stated: “We are irrevocably committed to ensuring that a substantive board for the NDDC with fair representation of the nine-member states of the region making up the commission is immediately constituted as enshrined in the NDDC Act.

“On the issue of protest, let me reiterate that those against the protest are at variance with the overwhelming majority of Ijaw youths who have concluded plans to embark on a peaceful but decisive demonstration at the NDDC headquarters to press home the demands of the region.

“Such conscious mass movements cannot be terminated because of the appointment of a former IYC President Udengs Eradiri as Special Adviser on Youths to the Sole Administrator.

“However, as a former president of the IYC, he will enjoy our support and collaboration in discharging his duties effectively to the admiration of all.

“The suspension is to allow the Sole Administrator superintend over the conclusion of the forensic audit as alluded by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.”

The spokesman urged the external forensic auditors to hasten up their assignment and conclude it within the stipulated April timeline as Ijaw youths would not tolerate excuses anymore for negligence, warning that their plan to carry out a protest was still on course if the substantive board was not inaugurated by April.

He called on the sole administrator to work for the interest of the region within the timeline especially in initiating policies and programmes that would build the capacities of youths in areas of skills acquisition/empowerment.

Ekerefe urged Akwa to ensure the payment of tuition fees to beneficiaries of the NDDC foreign scholarship scheme, payment of indigenous contractors whose monies are still tied down in the commission despite the completion of such projects as well as make sure that other priority projects that would stimulate the economy of the region were pursued.

He added that going forward, the IYC would continue to monitor and ensure that the just approved 2020 budgetary provisions accrued to the NDDC were prudently and justly used for the development of the people of the region.

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Source: The Nation

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