By Hope Odabi
The Itsekiri Liberation Group has issued a fourteen days ultimatum to the federal government demanding the appointment and inauguration of a substantive Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The group insisted that all NDDC projects within the Itsekiri domain must be fully funded by the federal government.
A statement signed by the group’s Chairman and Secretary, Mone Oris and Ajofortan Omagbemi respectively threatened to shut down all oil installations as well as seal the NDDC’s offices in Delta and Edo States.
The group said, “The appointment of Interim Management Board and later Sole Administrator by the Federal Government of Nigeria all negates the law that established the NDDC in the year 2000 and the attendant effects on the Niger Delta people (especially the Itsekiri people that produces over 22 percent of the oil in Nigeria).
“Over the years, we have noticed with utmost dismay that the Federal Government is taking the peaceful and law-abiding disposition of the Itsekiri people for granted.
“In the recent past, the Federal Government have completely neglected the Itsekiri people in the scheme of things in the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“We will no longer tolerate the Federal Government and minister of Niger Delta’s flimsy excuse of conducting Forensic Audit because it is clear that the forensic audit is a charade and a deliberate attempt to stay glued to power and further impoverish our people in oil and gas producing communities in the Niger-Delta.
“Therefore, we will not condole any deliberate act to control the resources in our land without following laid down laws backing the establishment of NDDC.
“Consequently, we hereby give full support to the IYC on the current protest, as we mobilize all our members and the Itsekiri Nation to seal off NDDC office and other critical oil facilities within the state until the Federal Government of Nigeria meet the following demands: “For the Federal government to immediately dissolve the Sole Administrator managing the affairs of the NDDC because it is skewed to favour only a few cabals as against the general interests and representation of various states that ought to constitute the Board.
“The Federal government should with immediate effect appoint, confirm and Inaugurate a substantive Board for the NDDC within 14 days.
“The Federal government should include all projects in Itsekiri area such as Koko -Ogheye Road, Omadino-Excravos (Ugborodo), Jakpa to Ogheye to Ugbege road, Rural Electrification project from Koko to Benin River in Warri North, Koko shoreline protection etc in the NDDC budget and all projects should be properly funded and executed in line with global engineering standards. We will vehemently resist abandoned projects.
“The Federal government should immediately include Itsekiris in the recently concluded recruitment of over 300 staff in NDDC. Any exclusion of our people in the recruitment of staff in NDDC will be resisted because, under our production quantum of oil and gas, we are major stakeholders in the region and Nigeria at large.
“Itsekiri sons and daughters must be included in NDDC skill acquisition and empowerment programs. We were shocked to see NDDC engage over 200 indigenous people of the Niger Delta without a single Itsekiri man or woman, this is the gross neglect of the Itsekiri people.
“That Itsekiri sons and daughters be considered for the position of the MD and executive position, this is because, over the years (20 years) that the Commission was created, Itsekiris who produce 22.8 % of the National Oil and gas has not to be considered for either the MD or executive position. We won’t take it anymore, we call on all our members and Itsekiri Nation to resist this act of wickedness done by the federal government.
“We will not be peaceful anymore because it appears our peaceful disposition is being taken for granted. If these demands are not met, we shall decimate all oil and gas installations in our areas, seal up the NDDC Office and ensure the national economy is completely grounded till our demands are meant.”