The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, on Thursday cautioned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to resist the temptation of further delay of the appointment and inauguration of the Biard of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as agreed with Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders during the recent consultative meetings.
Deputy Governor Otuaro speaking on ARISE TV News, monitored by National Daily from Lagos, noted that there was noticeable tension in the Niger Delta generated by the delay in the constitution of a substantive NDDC board, which led to the ultimatum that were given by various groups, including Chief Tompolo. The deputy governor acknowledged the responsive visit of the Minister of Niger Delta to the region for a consultative meeting. He stated that the consultative meeting resulted into an agreement for action by the Niger Delta Minister on or before the end of June.
“I was part of the Consultative Committee, and I am very much aware of the fact that the consensus reached the inner meetings, which of course, I was also part of, was that this board will be constituted at the end of this month, which in my opinion, is a few days from now, about a week or so from now.
“So, the expectations of all those who were involved in that critical engagement is that the board will be constituted at the close of this month,” the Delta Deputy Governor stated.
Otuaro cautioned that the risk of undermining the agreement, or the Niger Delta stakeholders is very high. He advocated that the minister should renew consultation if there is any reason to delay the inauguration of the NDDC substantive board.
The deputy governor added that all stakeholders must be conscious to avoid the rise of militancy in the zone as was the case of the 2016 experience.
According to Deputy Governor Otuaro: “And if there is anything to the contrary, since our purview knows exactly what to do, he needs to reach out, because any gap in the circumstance will be misconstrued for something else.
<And then for us in Delta State Government, we do not want a repeat of what happened in 2016. “The resurgence in militancy which will lead to attacks on gas and oil installations.
“So, it is expected that the board will be constituted, given the consultative meetings, which we had, and then, he knows what to do.
“If for any reason, there’ll be some extensions or delay, then, he needs to get in touch with his friends because he is a highly esteemed and distinctive leader in the region, a man held in high esteem; and that is so loved by the people, and he’s made so much praise across the divide.” The deputy governor insisted the minister would have to reach out to the stakeholders and maybe give reasons why you should be given some time to ensure that the board is constituted. He noted what Senator Akpabio saw, and what himself, standing for the government of Delta State, saw during the meeting “was not something to play because tension was literally high.”