Angry youths drawn from the nine Niger Delta states have concluded plans to embark on protest across the region, alleging; “some powerful politicians were frustrating the current board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from delivering on its core mandate in the region.”
Under the auspices of Consolidated Youths of Niger Delta (CYND), the youth had resolved after their emergency meeting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, to also take the protest to Aso Rock, “if activities of politicians continue to hamper the smooth operations of the commission.”
A communiqué at the end of the meeting read by the National Coordinator of the group, Frank Naday, alleged that Senator Magnus Abe and the former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timiprieye Silva, were working in close collaboration with other politicians ‘to politicise the commission.’
“We have already finished with a petition on this matter to be forwarded to the Presidency, because since the appointment of the new NDDC board led by Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, these politicians have jumped in, and are trying to arm-twist President Muhammadu Buhari’s hands to impose their choice candidate as the managing director (MD) of the agency.
“Since he was named as the acting MD of the agency, Brambaifa has demonstrated enough capacity even with the lean resources in the coffers of the commission in tackling the myriads of development challenges facing the Niger Delta region, especially in the area of scholarships, vocational training for youths, road networks and settlement of arrears owed contractors.
Besides, the group commended the NDDC board for defraying the backlog of arrears owed youths who were engaged to undertake the water hyacinth contract worth several millions of naira.
“Under his watch in the last couple of months, the current board has shown that it is not in the interest of the people of Niger Delta to play politics with projects as others before him, because he is not a politician.
“This is the first time we will have someone with the mind-set of a technocrat, who is not interested in using the NDDC platform as a springboard or preparatory ground to launch himself to elective position,” Naday noted.
According to him, “Within the last five months, the new NDDC board has returned the commission to its core mandate of developing the region and doused the prevalent cases of militancy and youth restiveness that used to be the order of the day in Niger Delta.”
Meanwhile, scholars sponsored by the NDDC to study in various universities in the United Kingdom, whose stipends and fees were still outstanding would get them next week, the management of the commission had assured those involved.
The scholars, who fell under the 2018 Foreign Scholarship Programme, were awarded funding to study in disciplines of critical development needs in various UK universities.
The new management of the commission, which assumed office in late January this year, took an active interest in the welfare of the scholars and worked proactively to meet their needs so they could focus on their academic pursuits.