Ex-militants in the Niger Delta have praised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s rumored plan to bring back presidential oversight of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Mr. Nature Dumale, the National Secretary of the First Phase Ex-agitators, issued a statement in Port Harcourt expressing his delight at the news that the NDDC would be reporting directly to the President, just like the NEDC.
He compared the change to having his prayers granted and noted that he had previously spearheaded a campaign to have the commission report directly to the President.
According to Dumale, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme’s (PAP) Strategic Communication Committee (SCC), Tinubu’s decision to resign was proof that he was serious about turning around the NDDC’s fortunes.
He claimed that the Niger Delta’s lack of progress throughout the years was due to the fact that some individuals had been given permission to appropriate several Federal Government interventions intended for the region for their own personal gain.
We’d want to take this occasion to thank you, Mr. President, for restoring the NDDC to your administration.
We anticipate that this will hasten regional development and put an end to the practice of using the Commission like a piggy bank.
We take the President’s mustering of the political will to return the interventionist agency to his office as evidence of his care for the Niger Delta region. This means that he seeks adequate oversight of the NDDC.
“As former activists, we can state categorically that mismanagement is to blame for the plight of the Niger Delta. The much-touted development of the Niger Delta would finally materialize if this step were taken.
As regional leaders, we welcome this as one positive move made by Mr. President. Under the direction of the President, the NDDC has the potential to promote real progress, in our opinion.
Only when the Presidency took a personal interest in NDDC did we see any progress. The Niger Delta Cartel’s sole purpose is to keep the Niger Delta underdeveloped, thus as soon as it was shifted to the Ministry of Niger Delta, it became a cash cow for the Cartel.
Dumale reported that they learned of a Niger Delta Recovery Plan (NDRP) in addition to the NDDC and the PAP, which required coordination between the petroleum, environment, and Niger Delta affairs ministries.
He elaborated, saying, “We live in a world where a lot is taken away by the federal government every day, yet there is little to show for it. Consider the East-West road segment known as Ogoni-Onne-Eleme Road and its current state of disrepair. Since the route is still a death hazard, there is no safe way to transport products.
We support President Tinubu and look forward to the rapid improvement of our country with fresh zeal and optimism.
He warned that the former protesters now have the knowledge and tools to hold their leaders accountable for the state of their nation.
He continued, “We have been empowered, and we will not engage anybody with weaponry. We’ve been taught to present ourselves in the most favorable light possible and to make our voices heard even at the United Nations.
Therefore, we shall approach our leaders with tact and diplomacy in order to pose inquiries. Unfortunately, no one is ever held responsible when they steal money that was intended for our area. Business as usual will not be possible if the young of Niger Delta continue to uncover financial crimes committed against them on a daily basis.
Dumale demanded that President Tinubu order the NDDC to release the results of its forensic audit, saying that if the commission’s funds were misappropriated, those responsible must be brought to justice.