Oct 1st, 2011 – Niger Delta: Angry Youths Storm NDDC Head Office
Over 1000 displeased youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta yesterday stormed the head office of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to protest against poverty in the region.
The youths, armed with placards and banners bearing various inscriptions, were chanting “save our souls” songs and they took over the ever-busy Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway, thereby disrupting traffic and activities at the NDDC and adjoining offices for some hours.
Some of the placards read: “Mr. President, save us, we are dying”, “SGF, don’t kill the vision of NDDC”, “Youths need empowerment”, “SGF, be sincere in NDDC matters. We need proactive leadership”, “SGF, engender NDDC to work, poverty is high” and “SGF, give acting MD mandate to perform her functions. We are tired.”
The youths protested under the umbrella of the “Watchdog of Niger Delta” and the “Niger Delta Peace Movement,” with policemen and soldiers on hand for the peaceful protest not to become violent.
The Secretary of the Watchdog of the Niger Delta, Mr. Sam Ebiye, while speaking with reporters at the main gate of the Federal Government’s intervention agency, during the protest, said the youths were not happy with the developments at the NDDC.
Ebiye said: “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Senator Anyim Pius Anyim) has remained nonchalant towards making NDDC fulfil its mandate of developing the region. The past SGF, Alhaji Yahale Ahmed, never allowed NDDC to stop functioning, considering the volatile nature of the Niger Delta.
“After over three weeks of the dissolution of NDDC’s board and with an Acting Managing Director, Mrs. Osato Iyasere Arenyeka, in place, the mandate of performing the functions of the Chief Executive Officer has not been granted her, unlike when Mr. Timi Alaibe and Pastor Power Aginighan acted as the managing director.
“Not giving the acting managing director the mandate to perform her functions, is detrimental to the development of our region. NDDC remains the bedrock to sustainable peace and development in the Niger Delta. Keeping it redundant will imply initiating violence, criminality and militancy.
“NDDC contractors took loans from banks to mobilise to sites, with interests accruing, while some have achieved milestones without payment. Our people are frustrated. We cannot continue to experience skewed development, because of bad governance.”
Ebiye then admonished President Goodluck Jonathan to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta, in order to ensure lasting peace in the hitherto volatile region.
When contacted for his reaction through the telephone, the NDDC’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Toye Abosede, said: “NDDC is addressing poverty in the region. We are doing our best to transform the Niger Delta.”