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New NDDC MD visits Niger Delta Women, recognizes great, critical role of women in dev’t, security of region, hosts demand audit, accountability

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  • Says: NDDC is an ATM Machine for politicians’ personal greed and ambitions

  • Adds: River Basin Authority, OMPADEC, NDDC, Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs, Presidential Amnesty, etc., reduced to political cash cows

  • Warns: We will no longer fold our hands and watch our region and wealth plundered, region & people neglected, resources held hostage

  • Demand full and total accountability to the people, holistic and transparent forensic audit between 2000 and 2020

  • Call for a forensic audit that includes reputable national and foreign forensic audit firms

The new Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Efiong Akwa, on Wednesday, paid a courtesy visit to Niger Delta women, under the auspices of Women of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities (WONDEN).

Mr. Akwa, who is appointed on acting capacity, said the aim of his visit is to synergise with the women and to find ways to partner with them to improve the lot of the Niger Deltans, especially the women.

On their part, the women lamented that the River Basin Authority, OMPADEC, NDDC, Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs, Presidential Amnesty, etc., have been reduced to political cash cows.

They further noted that NDDC  is nothing but ATM Machine for politicians and their personal greed and ambitions.

New Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Efiong Akwa with Annkio Briggs, Convener of Women Of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities (WONDEN)
New Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Efiong Akwa with Annkio Briggs, Convener of Women Of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities (WONDEN) while addressing the media

The women, therefore, urged the Niger Delta Development Commission Managing Director to, as a matter of urgency, ensure a total accountability to the people.

They also demanded that he commence a holistic and transparent forensic audit between 2000 and 2020 by a reputable national and foreign forensic audit firms.

This, they say, is to ensure that the dividends of the Commission will trickle down to all Niger Deltans, including the women at the grassroots.

See attached below transcript of a full statement issued by Women of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities at the end of the meeting which included a 12-point demand:

We the Women of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities welcome you the Acting Managing Director Of Niger Delta Development Commission and your entourage on this courtesy visit to the core women voices, stakeholders and opinion leaders representing our Niger Delta Region who travelled from far and wide to be here today.

We are the women, mothers and daughters of the Niger Delta. We cut across the various Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta Region, members of many organizations and grass roots movements.

We gather here at the invitation of the Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM), a recognized Movement cutting across the various ethnic nationalities of our beloved Niger Delta Region.

We are very strategic in our determinations and roles in shaping the scheme of things as well as ensuring that our region is no longer undermined for any reasons, we will work harder to achieve the true mandate of sustainable development through the respective agencies such as NDDC, Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs, Presidential Amnesty Office and other institutions.

MD, let us congratulate you on your task at the NDDC on behalf of our region.

Unfortunately for us the essence of agencies created or established for our people and region starting from the River Basin Authority, OMPADEC, NDDC, Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs, Presidential Amnesty, etc., have been reduced to turning these commissions into political cash cows.

We believe this is because and especially for the NDDC that those put in charge played almost no substantial role or roles in the struggle that brought the agencies about.

We unambiguously state here that we the Women of the Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta and owners of the agencies reject the view and views of National and State politicians that these agencies particularly the NDDC is an ATM Machine for their political and personal greed and Ambitions.

We call for the end of the mismanagement of the NDDC and demand for a refocus on why the NDDC was created, the benefit of our people today and tomorrow.

It is unacceptable that all we hear about is malfeasance and fraud in the NDDC and the Amnesty Program which portrays our struggle for Liberty, Equity and Justice in very shameful light.

As a son of Akwa Ibom and of the Niger Delta region, we don’t need to inform or remind you that many sons and daughters of this region have paid the ultimate price, murdered for the creation of NDDC and other agencies.

While we do not intend to hold you solely responsible for the woes, failures and corruption of the past twenty years of the NDDC, we wish to use your office to inform the board members and Federal Government of the past twenty years and since 2015 that moving forward we the women of the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities will no longer be silent.

We demand full and total accountability to the people and the children of the Niger Delta Region. We demand a holistic and transparent forensic audit between 2000 and 2020.

We have called for a forensic audit that includes reputable national and foreign forensic audit firms, the forensic audit that does not capture the footprints of verifiable contracts, contractors and companies of the periods of 2000 to 2020 will not pass the credibility and acceptability tests.

It is claimed and rumored that the substantive Board of the NDDC will be appointed in April 2020. We expect that the law is complied with, the position in the new and overdue management board for Delta State must go to Delta State, the position for Bayelsa State must go to Bayelsa State and other states accordingly.

We demand excellence in determining the persons to serve on the new board.

We the Women of the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities will reject and resist the appointments based on political party representation, the people who fought for and some who gave their lives for justice did not do so on the platforms of political parties.

Like men and youths the women of the Niger Delta Region are equal and major stakeholders in the development and survival of the ethnic nationalities of the region.

We are capable of using our Aces; we can and will do the unthinkable to defend our regional and ethnic rights within lawful lines to any level, with every capacity; we have seen it all.

Women govern some of the powerful countries in the world. We have capacity to govern and manage.

We will no longer fold our hands and watch our region and wealth plundered, our region and people neglected and our resources held hostage by strangers and a few of our sons and daughters.

This was not what we negotiated in 2008/2009 when we encouraged our sons and daughters to lay down their arms and come out of the Creeks.

What we have today was not what the late President (RIP) promised the Niger Delta during the various negotiations we had with him. The grave betrayal against our people and region has gone on for too long.

Some of our demands:

  1. The NDDC Act must be respected as it concerns the appointment and tenures for Chairman and Managing Director.
  2. The NDDC is not a political compensation commission or a political ambition funding bank and must no longer be used to fund governorship ambitions of politicians of Niger Delta, Northern states, and Political Parties of Nigeria.
  3. Funding from all and any arm of Federal Government, International Oil Companies, Ecological Funds, and all monies from statutory and all other sources due the NDDC should be paid to the Commission.
  4. NDDC monies cannot expire, withheld for any reason illegally, NDDC monies in the Federal Government budget if not paid to NDDC is owed NDDC.
  5. Close to two trillion Naira is owed the NDDC and must be repaid, especially as the money is coming from the Niger Delta Region.
  6. To the past and present management of NDDC we demand the forensic audit to show the people of the Niger Delta Region where the allocations of the past twenty years of nearly four trillion Naira went.
  7. We demand to know why the NDDC is denied ecological funds and yet the North East Development Commission (NEDC) of a few years gets funding from the same ecological funds.
  8. The threat indicators and red flags that resulted in armed agitation in the Niger Delta are up, let the Federal Government of Buhari not be deceived as the governments of Obasanjo and Yar’Adua were deceived by politicians of the Niger Delta that ‘they are in control’.
  9. Obasanjo and Yar’Adua found out that no one is in control expect the sons and daughters of Niger Delta that are aggrieved.
  10. As mothers, daughters and wives we continue to preach non-violence but the government must show by acting genuinely in its commitment to equity and justice to the Niger Delta region.
  11. The East West Road project have been in several budgets in the past twenty years it is therefore unacceptable that by item 54 of the 2021 budget there is no specific appropriation for the never ending East West Road project and completion, rather, that the East West Road unending project is expected to come from what is allocated to the Niger Delta.
  12. This is not acceptable and we demand a specific appropriation in the 2021 Budget for the completion of the East West Road project once and for all.

Finally while we are aware that your time as MD of NDDC is limited, you have engaged us as critical stakeholders; we wish you the very best and pray that no matter how limited the time of your service is we wish that you succeed in making a difference.

In life it is not the length of time but the quality of the length of the time that matters.

While we continue to engage on non-violent platform, we know as women of this region that peace will remain elusive and misrepresented as long as our people are denied justice and rights.

Again thank you for recognizing the role, capacity and stake of Women in the security, development, justice and peace of the Niger Delta.

Signed:

Annkio Briggs
Convener, Women Of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities (WONDEN)

See more photos of the meeting below:


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