By Destiny Ugorji
A youth group, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM) has alleged that there is massive corruption in the running of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), even as it threatened to expose it in the coming weeks.
NDYM, the umbrella youth organisation in the Niger Delta region made the allegation in a communiqué issued at the end of a National Executive Council meeting of the body in Port Harcourt, weekend.
The communiqué, signed by the group’s National President, Joe Jackson, Secretary, Amakuro Isaac and 23 others, blamed corruption for the underdevelopment in the region.
The group lamented that despite the huge investments in the Commission, not much is being done to better the lives of the people, but warned that it is presently investigating the information of massive looting going on in the Commission under the present leadership and will make its findings public soon.
“Corruption is at the centre of the region’s underdevelopment and the youths have remained endangered species in their patriotic efforts to draw the attention of relevant agencies to the developmental challenges of the region.”
“…despite enormous resources committed to the development of the Niger Delta region by successive administrations, not much is being seen in terms of development of the region.
“…the absence of transparency and accountability in institutions empowered to develop the region is a major obstacle to the development of the region.
“…the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) needs to be purged of corruption, with a view to sanitising the system and bad eggs expunged.
“The NDDC under the present leadership has no place for the youth of the region. No action plan or template for youth development, empowerment and engagement is in place. The youth of the region have not been effectively involved in the activities of the NDDC.
“The impact of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on the region has been minimal,” the communiqué said.
Continuing, the youth group called on the country’s anti-graft agencies to beam their light on the region, while urging the present leadership of the Commission to ensure transparency, accountability and due process in its dealings.
“The country’s anti-corruption agencies must begin to beam their searchlights on public institutions in the Niger Delta region.
“The present Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission-NDDC, under the leadership of Mr Nsima Ekere must ensure transparency, accountability and due process in the award of contracts by the Commission, especially, that of Water Hyacinth projects.
“The present NDDC Management should, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the youths of the region are carried along in the issues concerning them. The continued marginalization of youths of the region by the present leadership is unacceptable.
“As a principal stakeholder in the formation of the NDDC and particularly, the YOUTH DIRECTORATE, NDYM is reviewing the situation in the Commission and will soon make its findings and decisions known to the world.
“We await a blueprint and action plan, backed with an implementation guide on youth empowerment and engagement by the current NDDC leadership.
“We support a civil means to the resolution of the Niger Delta problem and shall at no point, back any military action in the Niger Delta.
“The Federal Government should commence the ACTUAL clean-up of Ogoniland and other areas/states in the Niger Delta Region affected by oil exploration without further delay.
“As the umbrella youth group in the region, NDYM should be actively involved in the Federal Government’s dialogue initiative, aimed at restoring peace to the region.
“NDYM calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately nominate, for confirmation, credible persons to represent the three states of Abia, Imo and Ondo on the Board of the NDDC, in order to calm frayed nerves.
“NDYM strongly condemns the planned relocation by the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) of some of its offices from Port Harcourt to Lagos and wants Exxonmobil to immediately relocate all its offices to Akwa Ibom State for the sake of the on-going peace moves by the Federal Government.
“The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs must review its mandate, with a view to developing and implementing activities and projects that can touch the lives of the Niger Delta people positively.”
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