By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Ijaw Oil and Gas Producing Communities of Nigeria, Bayelsa and Delta States Chapters have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgent national importance, inaugurate the long awaited Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to forestall crisis in the oil and gas industry.
The groups made the appeal in a statement signed by the Chairmen of the two chapters, Mr Jonah Engineyouwei and Friday Ugedikumo respectively.
They said the inauguration of the Board will forestall further threats to the NDDC and the Niger Delta Region, the economic base of the country.
“The statement adds that the executives and members of the Ijaw oil and gas producing communities of Nigeria want President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the already screened and confirmed NDDC Board members led by MR. Bernard Okumagba.
The body says it strongly believes that the Buhari Administration will do the needful by appointing competent members to enable communities enjoy the dividends of development.
They said the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC does not affect or stop its inauguration.
“It advises the President to ignore selfish politicians from the Niger Delta Region who do not care about the welfare of their people but are running around and lobbying villa cabals to submit their lists of loyalists as nominees to the Board for their selfish interests without considering the core communities.
“The statement describes Mr. Bernard Okumagba as very knowledgeable and experienced, and has the requisite capacity, ability and competence to lead the Commission, especially as he hails from oil producing Udu and Warri South Local Government Areas which host several oil fields and facilities.
“The already screened and confirmed Board members, led by Mr.. Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director or Chairman, are very competent and reliable persons who can move the Niger Delta Region forward in terms of development. The Ijaw oil and gas pressure group also appealed to all ethnic and interest groups to influence Mr President to inaugurate the Board rather than continue to agitate and oppose one another in the Region under the guise of ethnic sentiment
“It however commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his media interview with Arise TV where he gave hope and assurances to Nigerians that the security challenges would be nipped in the board.”