A former President of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), Christopher Ekiyor has called for the return of the supervision of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Presidency.
Ekiyor who made the call in Beni, Edo State on Thursday, spoke against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the immediate past Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Joi Nunieh.
Ekiyor, who asserted that it was a mistake to have placed the supervision of the commission under the ministry, regretted the level of irresponsibility that had been displayed by the interventionist agency in the past few days.
According to him, “They have made a mockery of the leadership of our country. It shows the kind of leaders that have emerged. I cannot even say whether we are moving backward or forward.
“Akpabio, with his pedigree, has belittled himself to the level where he looked like a mockery to the Nigerian State. And the kind of criminality that we see in leadership is quite embarrassing and unacceptable.
“I am not saying that the lady herself is not culpable because I am also informed and aware of her own shortcomings as MD. But to say the least, this kind of exposure that we now have in pubic glare was known to some of us”.
While noting that he had supported the forensic audit of the NDDC as initiated by the presidency, Ekiyor however said the introduction of the Interim Management Commitee (IMC) was wrong.
“I had said that I support the forensic audit but I don’t agree with the IMC. If you are auditing a firm or a team, there is nothing that says the firm should not be functioning all because you are auditing it.
“A substantive Board should be inaugurated and allowed to function while you audit. But in this case, you are the judge, you are the accuser, you are the prosecutor; you are everything. You are doing the same thing you accused people of doing.
“You will be surprised that the contractors they claim to have given jobs and paid, you will be shocked that most of them will be people they cut deals with.
“They cut deals and they agree that the contractors will get huge sums of money and pay them their share of the money; or they award contracts and share the money.
“Some of the jobs are paid within two weeks they are executed, yet we have people who since 2016 had their jobs completed with IPC yet not paid because they are not part of this cartel that wants to run us dry.
“I think it is an aberration to say that NDDC is a parastatal of the Niger Delta Ministry. The creation of the NDDC is an Act of Parliament and it does not put it under the Ministry; it put it under the presidency. So verbally moving it to a ministry is an aberration.
“We wanted a ministry for the development of the Niger Delta and an agency for the development of oil-producing sector of the Niger Delta. They are mutually exclusive things that we asked for; we got all. But unfortunately under this administration, everything seems to be going banana.”
On the way forward, Ekiyor said, “I have no regret to say that the board should be dissolved and all of them fired and be investigated; and anybody found culpable should go in for it.
“The minister should also be removed from supervising the Commission”.