By Emmanuel Afonne
The Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC) has called on the Federal Government to review the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ascertain its usefulness to communities in the area since its inception.
The group made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of its Round Table discussion with stakeholders from the 22 ethnic nationalities in the region on Monday in Benin City, signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Jator Abido.
Secretary of the group Kede Michael and other executive members – Chinedu Livinus and Prince Danisin Momoh were also signed the communique.
According to the group, the call became necessary in view of its findings that the Commission is allegedly serving the interest of a few individuals at the detriment of the region to which it was established – to facilitate its development.
The youths alleged that it had severally complained that the NDDC had been hijacked by few individuals at the detriment of the people.
The youth group urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the presidency, to probe the current and past leaderships of the Commission.
“As a group, we frown at the performance of the NDDC using the counterpart funding from the Federal Government and the oil companies to give the host communities a sense of belonging.
“Particularly, we are pained that projects are only completed on paper but are yet to commence in reality.
“The contract for the construction of Omadinor-Ukpokiti/ Escravos Bridges Project is one of such where the funds have been allegedly diverted.
“While the first phase of the project has been fully paid, the second phase is being awarded when the first phase is yet to be executed.”
The youths warned that it might compel the multinationals to stop paying counterpart funds to government if the EFCC and ICPC fail to probe NDDC and ensure it carry out direct social responsibility services to the host communities.
“We are aware that the Act establishing NDDC demands 15 percent from the Federal Government and 3 percent from the oil companies’ annual budget remitted to the Commission.
“However, where the NDDC rather than stimulate development is becoming a clog in the wheel of progress of the region, we may be left with no option than to boycott such Commission and set up a committee that will liaise with the Companies in the Region to ensure the communities get what they deserve.”
The group also called on the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to urgently look into its complaint of marginalisation in its recent recruitment and include its members in the interest of equity and justice.
“Let it be clear to the NNPC management that we only shelved our earlier planned protest as a show of love for the country and respect for human lives following the tensed security atmosphere occasioned by the activities of the IMN”. (NAN)