NDDC board: Tompolo withdraws ultimatum to FG, sues for calm

Ex-Militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, said on Saturday that he had reluctantly accepted the proposal by Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio to have a new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in place by the end of this month.

Consequently, he has suspended the seven-day ultimatum he gave the federal government to inaugurate the board.

Akpabio had met with Niger Delta stakeholders in Delta State on Thursday, after which he also visited Tompolo in his Oporoza den in Warri Southwest, Delta State on Thursday to talk him out of a possible fresh crisis in the Niger Delta over the delay in inaugurating a new board for the NDDC.

The minister said in a video recording that he had fruitful discussions with the ex-militant leader and other Niger Delta stakeholders.

Tompolo, in a statement on Saturday, said his intervention in the matter was motivated by his “love for the region and Nigeria.”

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I make bold to say that I cannot be compromised by money and other material things,” he said, adding: “The only thing one can do for Nigeria in these trying times, where all the six geopolitical zones are in turmoil, is to pray to God for peace and tranquility, particularly for the economic hub of the country, the Niger Delta region.”

He said that following the minister’s pledge to “start the process of the constitution and inauguration of the substantive board of the NDDC immediately (from Friday June 4th 2021)” he (Akpabio) should be “allowed to drive the process to an end on or before the end of June 2021.”

He added: “As it stands now, I have accepted the outcome of the meeting reluctantly.

“It is pertinent to state at this juncture that I do not want anything to disrupt the relative peace we are enjoying in the region.

“It was on this premise that I accepted the outcome of the meeting. The ultimate goal in this issue is for the minister to abide by the promise he has made to start the process of constituting the NDDC board now.

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“Government shenanigans must be put away in this matter, as constituting the NDDC board is very dear to the heart of the people of the region.

Speaking for the stakeholders at the Thursday meeting in Gbaramatu, the President, Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Benjamin Okaba, had expressed disappointment at what he called crisis in the various management of the NDDC.

He faulted Akpabio’s position that the forensic auditing of the NDDC was responsible for the delay in constituting its board.

He said: “Auditing of any establishment can go together with the running of the system. The 1999 constitution that has obvious infractions is being altered but we have not suspended Nigeria. We have not appointed a sole administrator to run Nigeria.

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“We also know that in the organogram and composition of the NDDC, the management board constitutes a little proportion of the workings of that place. We have directors and heads of department that are still working. Monies are going out. We have further cases of infractions without the board.

“The Ijaw youths, Isoko, Itsekiri youths gave 30 days ultimatum. There was no intervention from anybody. How else do you tell the people that they are fools? How else do you tell the people that they can go and die?

“We are very bitter. The entire Niger Delta is standing behind High Chief Tompolo. If nothing happens at the expiration of the ultimatum, don’t blame anybody if anything happens.

“We have seen this happen before and that is why we are very careful.

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