The Nigerian government has constituted a new board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
It was exclusively gathered that the members of the newly constituted board have been appointed into various offices in a bid to douse the threats and complaints from sons and daughters of the Niger Delta region.
The new board members amongst others include; Bernard Okumagba from Delta State as Chairman of the Board, Samuel Nduku from Bayelsa State as Managing Director, Effiong Okon Akwa who is the Sole Administrator as Executive Director Finance and Administration.
There has been tension between the Nigerian government, represented by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, headed by Godswill Akpabio and foremost voices in the region, including ex-agitators. Just recently, Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) threatened the Nigerian government to constitute a new board or risk the return to hostilities in the region.
Some new board members according to our source came on the back of strong recommendations from top political influencers in the region.
The Niger Delta Youth Movement (NYM) had also given the federal government an ultimatum for the constitution of a new governing board for the commission.
They had said in a statement in April that; “If the Presidency refuses to inaugurate the legally-screened and cleared Governing Board of the NDDC within one month from today, April 28, the NDYM will mobilise all youth groups in the nine states of the Niger Delta, our affiliates, sympathisers, and partners in the region, to shut down the region.
“We shall make the Niger Delta region ungovernable if Mr President refuses to inaugurate the already screened and cleared Governing Board of the NDDC.”
Tompolo had also on the 31st of May given the federal government a deadline to constitute the new board. He had asked the Nigerian government to get a governing board in place before the 30th of June in a meeting with Akpabio and other Ijaw indigenes.
“The minister has made the outcome of the meeting known to the public. He promised profusely to start the process of the constitution and inauguration of the substantive board of the NDDC immediately and that he should be allowed to drive the process to an end on or before the end of June 2021,” he said after the meeting.
The former Commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) also added that; “As it stands now, I have accepted the outcome of the meeting reluctantly. It is pertinent to state at this juncture that I do not want anything to disrupt the relative peace we are enjoying in the region. It was on this premise that I accepted the outcome of the meeting.”
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) had also sought some speed from the federal government in constituting the new NDDC board as it said the region was threatened by a return to hostilities if the board doesn’t start work in earnest.
A forensic audit of the NDDC account had caused the delay in setting up the board, with various corruption scandals rocking the commission in recent time.