ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
An ex-agitator in the Niger Delta, Comrade A. Amagbein, has warned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to stop his alleged covert move to control the three per cent fund provided in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) for the host communities.
Amagbein raised the alarm on Saturday during an interactive meeting of host communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The ex-militant leader was reacting to the alleged call by Akpabio that the payment of the fund meant for the host communities be managed by the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) for effective management and disbursement.
He described the statement by the minister as unfortunate and a well rehearsed plot to hijack the funds due to the host communities that had not felt the impact of the 13 per cent derivation accruing to the governments of the region.
He alleged that Akpabio had been deceiving President Muhammadu Buhari from inaugurating the board of the NDDC, citing the commission’s forensic audit as an excuse.
He noted that the July date promised by Akpabio for President Buhari to constitute the NDDC board had expired, warning the minister to stop playing on the intelligence of the people of the Niger Delta.
He called on every well meaning sons and daughters of the region to resist any attempt by anybody including Akpabio to dabble in the management of the three per cent fund which he stated was not under the control of his ministry and parastatal.
Amagbein noted that those agitated by the criminal neglect, marginalisation of the Niger Delta over the years fought for resource control and self determination had lost their lives, loved ones, breadwinners and valuable properties.
He also said some persons had become widows, orphans with nobody to cater for them, emphasizing that the struggle caught the attention of Chief Olusegu Obasanjo and late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to establish the NDDC, the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry to assuage the plight of the people.
He warned that any attempt by Akpbio to control the three per cent fund meant for the deprived people at the communities would plunge the region into another round of crisis due to the glaring failure of the NDDC and NDA since their establishment to deliver on their core mandates to appease the people under the supervision of Akpabio who had allegedly turned the intervention agency into his private estate and a cesspool of corruption.
The ex- warlord expressed disappointment in the continued appointment of interim management board/committee to run the NDDC under the supervision of Akpabio who had taken the pleasure of appointing his loyalists at the expense of the development of the region.
He alleged that the likes of the minister and other leaders from the region were responsible for the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta with billions of naira allocated to NDDC diverted into private pockets.
He urged the leaders of the region to stop the blame game of labelling the northerners and people from the Southwest of being responsible for the poor state of affairs in the region
Amagbein commended former leaders and Buhari for the efforts made to lift the Niger Delta people out of the doldrums, calling on Buhari to appoint someone that had the interest and development of the Niger Delta at heart.