Akpabio. Photo: THEABUJATIMES
Again, protesters in the Niger Delta region have alleged that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has been using various tactics to confuse President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to keeping the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) perpetually under his control.
Members of the South-South Youth Initiative (SSYL) led by its National President, Saviour Oscar, blocked the entrance of NDDC Headquarters in Port Harcorut, yesterday, and vowed to remain there until the Sole Administrator of the commission, Effiong Akwa, explained the continued delay in inaugurating a substantive board of the NDDC and addressed alleged sharp practices under him.
The Guardian learnt that having realised that the protesters were determined to continue the demonstration, Akwa escaped from the premises through a back door.
They had continued the protests for over a week at the NDDC gate, but retreated following a heavy rainfall that unsettled Port Harcourt for several days.
Akwa was said to have been absent from office throughout the one-week protest, during which the youths locked workers and visitors out.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police (CP), Friday Eboka, who expressed concern over the development, made attempts to resolve the matter, but failed due to Akwa’s absence.
Oscar told Eboka that Akpabio and Akwa were deliberately frustrating and delaying the inauguration of the substantive board of the commission.
He said the forensic audit had been concluded and the report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, wondering what they were waiting for to inaugurate the board.
He also accused Akpabio and Akwa of nepotism, alleging that they had employed no fewer than 1,000 persons from their home state of Akwa Ibom to work in NDDC, while ignoring qualified persons from other member states.
“Our youths are roaming the streets unemployed. We have high level of unemployment, because of the failure of the current management of the NDDC to do the right thing.
“Akpabio and Akwa have employed 1, 000 persons from Akwa Ibom to work in the NDDC. Akwa Ibom is not the only state to be catered for by the NDDC. We have eight other states. We need the board to ensure equitable distribution of NDDC resources,” he lamented.
However, Eboka, whose objective was to sue for peace, urged Oscar to get three persons from the group to discuss with Akwa. He later invited Oscar to his office for talks, but the aggrieved youths from vowed to continuous the protest and blocking of the NDDC gate until the right thing was done.