Tompolo to FG: Constitute NDDC board now to avoid crisis

Tompolo to FG: Constitute NDDC board now to avoid crisis

Government Ekpemupolo, a former militant better known as Tompolo, says there is tension in the Niger Delta region over the failure of the federal government to constitute the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board.

A board is yet to be constituted for the commission, following the dissolution of the previous one in January 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, in 2019, ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC’s operations, which uncovered allegations of mismanagement of funds.

Buhari has since appointed two interim committees to oversee the commission, but they have both been accused of fraud.

In May, Tompolo asked the president to constitute a board or face a breakdown of law and order, but Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs, pleaded with the ex-militant over the ultimatum and the government was given till the end of June to make its decision.

However, as of July 1, no board has been announced for the NDDC.

In a statement on Friday, Tompolo said the Niger Delta people are “seriously agitated”, adding that the federal government should be sincere in the handling of issues concerning the region because its people have suffered.

“My ultimatum led to a consultative meeting between major stakeholders from the region and Senator Godswill Akpabio in Oporoza town, where a truce was reached, as the Minister profusely pleaded that he should be allowed to start and fast-track the process of constituting the board within the month of June 2021,” he said.

“June 2021 has come to an end. The people of the region are yet to see any tangible move towards the constitution of the NDDC board by the federal government. The people are seriously agitated. There is palpable fear and tension in the region.

“I wish to reiterate my earlier position that the government should, as a matter of urgency, constitute the substantive board of the NDDC to avoid unnecessary bickering and crisis in the region.

“Since I reluctantly accepted the outcome of the consultative meeting, I have done so much to keep peace in the region which some major stakeholders in the security circle are aware of.”

Tompolo also said the government is unfair to a “greater number of its citizens”.

“The average Nigerian citizen is a government of his or her own as the citizens provide everything for themselves today. The Nigerian Government must create an enabling environment for the citizens to live a prosperous and peaceful life,” he said.

“Multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region are not left out in the troubles of the region.

“They are clearly part of the conspiracy in the marginalisation of the region. They must perform their statutory obligations to the people of the region by promptly delivering corporate social responsibility to the people.”