This is also as the commission has denied claims in the report which was allegedly sponsored by a group, the Niger Delta United Congress, indicating that its Interim Administrator, Dr Effiong Akwa, during an online event, opposed the constitution of a new board for the commission
This was made known in a statement issued on Friday by the management of NDDC, stating that Dr Akwa, who was represented at the occasion by his Special Adviser on Youths and Sports, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, did not make that statement at the online interaction with the theme: “2023 Elections and the Imperative for Strategic Participation of Niger Delta Youths.”
The NDDC noted that the Interim Administrator instead used the occasion to call on the people of the region to trust President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that Buhari would act on “genuine request” for the constitution of the commission.
What the NDDC is saying
The statement from NDDC partly reads, “The attention of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been drawn to a publication in ThisDay Newspaper of Wednesday, June 15, 2022, by a so-called Niger Delta United Congress, claiming that the Interim Administrator, Dr Effiong Akwa, said that the ‘people should reduce their agitation on the board and work with the current management of (the) NDDC.’
“The group claimed that Akwa made the statement during a Webinar Engagement for Stakeholders on June 4, 2022.
“We wish to state categorically that Dr. Akwa, who was not present at the occasion, but was represented by his Special Adviser on Youths and Sports, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, did not make that statement at the online interaction which focused on the theme: ‘2023 Elections and the Imperative for Strategic Participation of Niger Delta Youths.’
“Indeed, it is on record that Dr. Akwa instead used the occasion to call on the people of the Niger Delta region to trust President Muhammadu Buhari on the development of the region, noting that the President would act on the ‘genuine request’ for the constitution of a substantive board for the Commission.
“It is unfortunate that the newspaper allowed its platform to be used by mischievous politicians hiding under a nondescript group to continue the unfortunate agenda to create confusion in the Commission, and negate the gains of the past months.
“Being one of the leading newspapers in Nigeria, ThisDay owes its readers a duty to cross-check its sources of information to avoid misleading or misinforming members of the public.”
The statement added that “The Commission is aware of the desperate fight by certain individuals and groups to return the NDDC to the inglorious past of being an ATM for politicians to fund their campaigns.
“As the politics and campaigns for 2023 elections heat up, we understand that these campaigns of calumny, blackmail and subterfuge will become even more urgent and strident.
“The public should, therefore, disregard such spurious lies being masterminded, fabricated and orchestrated by persons who are positioning themselves and their associates for appointment into the Board of the NDDC.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission states, without equivocation, that Dr. Akwa did not make the statement dubiously credited to him by this unregistered group, whose official address cannot be proven, neither did the Commission pay N20 billion naira to any ghost contractor. We, therefore, challenge the authors and fabricators of these malicious allegations to come out with proof.
“We assure all stakeholders in the Niger Delta region that the NDDC will continue to be focused and prudent in the management of its resources for the benefit of the people of the region and will remain committed to the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Recall that on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, a group had in a publication on ThisDay newspaper quoted Dr Akwa as saying that the people “should reduce the agitation on board and work with the current management of the NDDC.”
The publication stated that the statement was made during a Webinar Engagement for Stakeholders on June 4, 2022.