Militants in Niger Delta were at loggerheads, yesterday, over the call to sack the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and disbanding of the Interim Management Committee, IMC, for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which he inaugurated recently.
The leader of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, self -styled “Major General Johnmark Ezonbi, said, “The call for Akpabo’s removal over the decision is most unfortunate and purely anti-development of the long-neglected region.”
But “General” Izon Ebi, leading the 21st Century Youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience slammed Akpabio, threatening that the group would resume hostilities if the government refused to disband the committee and remove him from office.
The RNDA also vowed to destroy oil facilities in the region if President Buhari succumbed to pressure to remove Akpabio and the supervision of NDDC from the Ministry of Niger Delta to the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government.
The 21st Century Youths called on President Buhari “to as a matter of urgency direct the EFCC and ICPC to investigate the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs on all bogus accusations leveled against him since he resumed office as the minister of Niger Delta affairs.”
If the federal government refuses to do the right thing to truly bring the corrupt, greedy, selfish and shameful leaders that have embezzled our common resources and the funds meant for the development of the Niger Delta to book, we will have no choice, but to resume hostilities and redirect the struggle. “This time around, to our corrupt and selfish leaders trying to mortgage our future and that of future generation.
“We also call on Mr. President to immediately relieve Akpabio of his duty as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs pending the conclusion of his investigation by the EFCC and ICPC as his desperation in setting up a three-man interim committee 24 hours to the confirmation of the new board has shown that there is something fishy.
“We believe that the desperation of Senator Akpabio is the reason the Festus Keyamo SAN switched ministries to protect his integrity. We, therefore, want to remind Akpabio that the Niger Delta is too big for him to gamble with and he should be able to learn from his defeat in his own home state, Akwa Ibom.
“Similarly, we call on the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, state governors of the Niger Delta, distinguished leaders, royal fathers and the Presidency to rise up to the occasion and not allow some selfish persons to plunge the Niger Delta into another round of crisis,” the militant group said.
Countering the 21st Century Youths, “Major General” Ezonbi representing RNDA and nine other militant groups, stated, “Those calling for the sack of Senator Akpabio following the inauguration of the Interim Committee to manage the affairs of the NDDC for some months should have their heads examined.”
“The RNDA will resist such calls with any means necessary and those behind such moves will be dealt with not minding the negative impact of our activities in the region because those who are behind this move are enemies to the development of Niger Delta and also enemies to President Buhari’s good intention towards the region.
“It is so disgusting that the same power-drunk politicians from the region, who have stunted the development of the Niger Delta are still trying to rear their ugly heads, as it is obvious that the forensic audit will expose how they have shortchanged the interventionist agency for their selfish gains,” he said.
Ezonbi added: “Furthermore, RNDA noted with utmost dismay that the NDDC, which is the only federal government interventionist agency meant to address the under developmental challenges occasioned by the long deliberate neglect, crude oil exploration and exploitation in the region has remained in dark doldrums because of some set of greedy corrupt personalities in the region.
“We will not allow this set of greedy power-drunk corrupt criminally-minded elements of politicians to carry out their wicked, callous, nefarious and inhuman and avaricious bidding to hijack the NDDC into their pocket for their personal gains just because of 2023 political ambition.”
“Let it be put on record that any attempt to remove Senator Godswill Akpabio as Minister of Niger Delta and supervision of NDDC from the Niger Delta Ministry to the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government will only lead to collateral damage on all crude oil installations and facilities in the creek of Niger Delta region.
‘We have warned and there will be no going back as enough is enough with playing politics and power tussle with the NDDC Commission.
“The sole mandate of establishing the NDDC is to address the under developmental challenges confronting the people of the region but has now turned to conduit pipe or better known as ATM machine in the hands of this set of greedy corrupt, wicked people since its establishment in 2000 till date.
“The idea of probing all the contracts awarded will expose those behind the mask with the directive of Mr President for the forensic audit report if made available, that is the reason why they are sponsoring illegal and non-relevant groups in calling for the removal of Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“We will not allow that to happen under the watch of the RNDA in the creek because Senator Akpabio’s emergence as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs is the handwork of God with a clear vision to sanitize the NDDC and transform the Niger Delta region for rapid infrastructural human capital development.
“The truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari meant well for the Niger Delta region, which obviously led to the inauguration of the three-man Interim Committee by Senator Akpabio whose intellectual capability and leadership qualities are highly commendable.
“His uncommon transformation policies transformed the entire Akwa Ibom state and Akpabio has the authority and the supervisory power to monitor the day to day running of the NDDC. The RNDA with the nine militant groups in the creek are fully behind Senator Akpabio for setting up the three-man Interim Committee to manage the affairs of the NDDC Commission for some months until they implement Mr. President’s directive on forensic audit and make the report available,” he said.