By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja – Abuja
Following recent development within the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Niger Delta Peace Movement Development Initiative has joined other well meaning stakeholders from the region including Hon. Steve Azaiki to sue for peace while awaiting the naming of a substantive board by the President.
This call was made at a press conference in Abuja when they reacted to the 7 days ultimatum issued by the President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Deacon Peter Timothy Igbifa who threatened to shut down the oil and gas facilities across the region.
According to various leaders of the peace and development group, there is need for the Ijaw Youth Council leadership to immediately retract the 7 days ultimatum given to the Federal Government and toe the line of peace and dialogue with the government as well as other stakeholders in the region to resolve the issue of appointing a substantive board for the NDDC.
Speaking to the press about the ongoing developments carried out by the NDDC in the region, the National Leader, Ex-Gen Momos Wilberforce cited the successful movement of the agency to its permanent site, the inclusion of over 2,000 Ondo communities who are currently benefiting from the NDDC electrification Project, the commissioning of the 3.4 km Kiagbodo Road, the pledge by the agency to back security efforts in coastal communities just to mention a few.
The National Secretary of the group, Comrade Dennis Nakoh noted that the statement of the IYC President is capable of truncating the relative peace that is been witnessed in the oil rich region. According to him, although the demand to name a substantive board for the apex development agency for the Niger Delta is an altruistic call which will benefit all stakeholders in the region, but threatening to shut down oil and gas assets will result to more crisis. He further noted that the country is already grappling with various dimensions of crises and agitations across several regions, and to draw the region into a new crisis by way of the 7 days ultimatum is far from being patriotic.
Recall that the federal lawmaker representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma-Opokuma Federal Constituency Bayelsa state, Prof. Steve Azaiki, OON had previously urged the FG to expeditiously address the issue of appointing a substantive board for the NDDC to allow the board effectively and efficiently handle all issues of development within the region to enhance the accelerated development of the Niger Delta region.
Finally, the group called for a continued dialogue by the IYC with all the stakeholders in the region including governors, federal lawmakers and the Minister in charge of the Niger Delta Ministry in the process to resolve this NDDC issue.