After due consultation with elders, youth leaders and other stakeholders across Akwa Ibom State, the Niger Delta Volunteers hereby demand for the immediate removal/prosecution of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio for alleged gross misconduct and abuse of office, the dissolution of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission and reconstitution of a substantive Board for the Commission.
It will be recalled that on his assumption of duty, he immediately influenced the redeployment of the erstwhile Minister of State in the Ministry, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN who he perceived would constitute a very big barrier to his nefarious activities, and the eventual transfer of supervisory powers over the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs where he superintends.
To perfect his grand plan, he went ahead to appoint and inaugurate an Interim Management Committee to run the affairs of the NDDC as well as oversee the so-called NDDC forensic audit, when the nominees for the new NDDC Board had already been screened and confirmed by the highest law-making organ in the land – the Senate which he had once served as the Minority leader.
On a number of occasions, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio has been accused of having two major missions to accomplish as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. First, as an individual noted for possessing an ‘unforgiving spirit’, he is alleged to be moving on a well-designed path to take revenge against some of those who had crossed his path at one point in time or another, and who happened to be associated with the NDDC as current or former Contractors or Staff. Second, known for his uncanny crave for amassing unquantifiable amount of wealth, the Akwa Ibom State-born politician is alleged to have already planted surrogates and puppets who are serving him as conduit pipes for the illegal movement of funds through phantom contract awards and unauthorized payments.
By his recent actions, Senator Akpabio has succeeded in reducing the NDDC to a mere regional outfit without any significant mandate or impact. For the first time in the history of the Commission, the Supervisory body (Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs) is now directing the day-to-day activities of the Commission which is supposed to be autonomous, and which was so during the time the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) was supervising the Commission, thus making it now an appendage of the Ministry.
The Niger Delta Volunteers also condemn the recent redeployment and compulsory retirement/leave of some key management staff of the Commission on the directive of the Minister. It has been insinuated that the affected personnel have deep knowledge of the details of the various illegal transfer of funds, irregular award of contracts and suspicious payments which have been carried out by the Interim Management Committee, during the past few months, and the Minister and his team are not comfortable with them being there during the period of the audit, so as not to unravel these dirty deals.
The recent untimely demise of the Commission’s Acting Executive Director, Finance & Administration, Mr. Ibanga Etang which has been associated with Covid-19, is concocted and many observers suspect that the deceased must have been poisoned and silenced to clear the road for easy cover up of the misdeeds of the Management Committee, since it is alleged that the Director had threatened to expose all the dirty activities and corruption that had been going on in the Commission in the past few months.
We hereby demand that a thorough investigation be carried out by the office of the Inspector General of Police to identify the killers of the Director.
Arising from the Director’s sudden demise, the Commission has been shut down on the orders of the Minister, to enable the IMC conclude the current massive destruction of contract documents, alteration of payment papers, and destruction of files which could incriminate them during the probe. The strength of the Minister is his strong belief that ‘what money cannot do, more money can’, he feels comfortable that he can definitely and easily bribe his way through his popular terrain – the National Assembly, and his ‘protectors’ in the Presidency.
On a very serious note, we cannot take exception to the allegation made by the immediate-past acting Managing Director of the Commission, Barr.(Dr.) Joy Nunieh that Senator Akpabio was behind her un-ceremonial removal from office for her refusal to swear to an oath of secrecy, as well as pay fictitious contractors. The Niger Delta Volunteers hereby demand that this allegation be thoroughly investigated by the Senate and the anti-corruption agencies, and all those found culpable should be brought to book if the zero tolerance to corruption of the present government must be taken seriously.
On our own part, we strongly believe that the allegation made by Mrs Nunieh may not be far from the truth considering the antecedents of the Minister during his tenure as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State (2007 – 2015). For the records, virtually all appointees of the Governor were made to swear to an Oath of Secrecy, and failure to abide by the provisions of the oath would result in unpleasant consequences, including death.
His eight years of governance in Akwa Ibom State was also characterized by kidnappings, high rate of cult activities, brutal killings of perceived oppositions, etc. as well as massive misappropriation and siphoning of public funds meant for the development of the State.
The Niger Delta Volunteers can no longer keep silent, while a few blood-thirsty and money-hungry politicians, who have been declaring war against all individuals who cross their paths, continue to vandalize the resources of the Niger Delta region at the expense of the suffering masses.
Also, Senator Godswill Akpabio should be sacked with immediate effect and prosecuted for gross misconduct, abuse of office and corruption. Moreover, the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC should be dissolved immediately, and a substantive board reconstituted to run the affairs of the Commission.
Let it be stated for the avoidance of doubt that if the Federal Government fails to meet these demands on or before 14 days from the day of this press release, we shall be left with no other option than to shut down all oil operations in Akwa Ibom State.
We also strongly advise foreign workers of Oil companies and non-indigenes residing in the State to make plans for their early evacuation to avoid loss of precious lives and property.
General Ekpo Ekpo
Capt. Nsidibe Etim
For: Niger Delta Volunteers
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