Calls for Akpabio’s Resignation.
Angry youths in their hundreds on Friday threatened to shut down all oil installations in Edo State, as well as the East-west Road and other access roads to the state if the president, Muhammadu Buhari, did not sack the sole administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC whom they claimed was employed by the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio. They also called for Akpabio’s resignation. They condemned the continued running of the agency by a sole administrator after the dissolution of the Interim Management Committee, IMC which they described as unconstitutional. The protesting youths, who sacked the Benin office of the NDDC, also demanded its removal from the ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs.
The youths, under the aegis of Edo Restoration Movement, (ERM) further complained of “deliberate marginalization” of Edo State in NDDC activities, alleging that more than 95 per cent of the interventionist agency’s projects being executed in Edo State, were being done by contractors from other states while no Edo contractor was given jobs in other states captured by the NDDC operations.
Secretary of the group, Ben Bowei, called for the immediate constitution of a Board to run the affairs of the Commission in line with laws establishing it. Bowei said “Edo State has been marginalised by NDDC and this must not be allowed to continue. We are here to put a stop to this injustice. We are part of the Niger Delta. Edo State is the fifth oil-producing state and has the largest deposit of gas in Nigeria.
“What about the board? Till now, Edo State has not produced the Chairman or Managing Director of the board. Edo should be considered for the position of the MD of the board. Recently, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs went round the Niger Delta states but he did not come to Edo State. We are giving Godswill Akpabio 72 hours to visit Edo and talk to us or resign. If he fails to resign, we will shut the East- West Road”.
Also, speaking the Publicity Officer of the group, Thaddeus Irabor, said the protest was to send a signal to the authority on what they would do if their plight is not addressed.
According to him, “We are here to send a signal. We are giving Akpabio 72 hours’ ultimatum to resign so that a legally constituted board can take over the management of the NDDC. The peace-loving people of Edo State have been taken for granted. We want him to resign, not because we have anything personal against him, but because Edo has been marginalised. We want to say that we can bite and even crack bones. We will not only shut the East-West Road, we will shut all oil installations in Edo State”.
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