Some Niger Delta youth leaders have called for the resignation of the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, for donating over N1bn to nine states of the oil-rich region for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The leaders, who spoke under the auspices of the Youth Leaders of Ethnic Nationalities in Niger Delta, said the NDDC should have used the fund to provide pipe-borne water and build hospitals for communities in the riverine areas instead of putting out for the fight against the pandemic.
According to a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Sunday, the National Coordinator of the group, Mr Imoh Okoko, said, “Our concern is that if the NDDC has this money to donate for a disease that some states in the Niger Delta have not recorded any case, why can’t they use that money to give potable water to the riverine communities?he questioned.
“These communities also need hospitals and schools. People die every day in these communities because they don’t have access to good water, health care and even light.
“The people of the region have been facing so much underdevelopment in the Niger Delta, but the Managing Director decides to give out such money; he should resign.
“We have the North East Development Commission, which did not give a naira to any of the states under it. But the NDDC is giving out the money meant for a purpose to the governors in the Niger Delta region.”
Okoko also issued a stern warning ,that the group would be forced to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to begin an investigation into the management of finances of the NDDC should the leadership of the interventionist agency continue to give out funds meant for the growth of the people and its region.
He said, “The Niger Delta state governors should be blamed for the underdevelopment of the region. Did he (NDDC MD) ask the governors what they have been doing with the 13 per cent derivation given to them by the Federal Government?
“Did he also ask the governors what they have been doing with local government allocations, which they (governors) collect and render the local governments useless?
“It is only in three of the Niger Delta states that we can say that the governors have tried. These states are Edo, Delta and Rivers. Did they (NDDC) ask them (governors) about the royalties paid to them by oil companies?”
With all these, we cannot stand by and watch what is meant for the region being toiled with. Therefore we call on the immediate resignation of the MD.