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…Urges Buhari to inaugurate board

The Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw (WPI) has lambasted the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Ministry of Niger Delta for lack of their preparedness to handle the ongoing flood disaster.

WPI particularly frowned on the nonchalant attitude, insensitivity and what it described as obvious lack of capacity being displayed by the Interim Administrator of NDDC, Dr. Efiong Akwa, at a time people of the region were urgently in need of the commission’s intervention.

The group in a statement signed by its Spokesperson, Charles Taylor, lamented that despite all the warnings ahead of the flood, Akwa’s NDDC failed to prepare for it.

Taylor, a former factional President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, said it was time President Muhammadu Buhari removed Akwa and inaugurated a substantive board for NDDC to stop further embarrassment of the commission by its current clueless administration.

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Taylor complaint that a major challenge threatening the NDDC is the truancy of Akwa, whom he said was hardly in his office at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt to attend to issues affecting the region.

He said: “Akwa is hardly around in his office at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt. Sometimes for three to four months, nobody sees him within the office.

“His absence has frustrated activities of all the departments in NDDC including the disaster relief department. We understand that the department in charge of disasters had prepared a proposal for flood mitigation but Akwa is hardly available to approve it.

“He comes whenever he likes, spends a few hours and leaves only to come back a few months after. NDDC is in comatose under Akwa even at a time flood is wrecking havoc in almost all the communities in the Niger Delta”.

Taylor said the investigation of the group revealed that Akwa was planning to approve funds to some politicians in the various states in the Niger Delta to tackle the flood menace.

“Why do you want to give flood relied funds of NDDC to politicians in the various states of the Niger Delta in an electioneering period and expect them to use it to help victims of the flood? This money if released will surely be diverted by these politicians.

“It is only reasonable to set up an independent committees in each state headed by community leaders to lead the intervention. We are warning Akwa not to release funds meant for flood victims to politicians.

“NDDC is an interventionist agency and this is time for the commission to live up to its name. This is why we will continue to call on President Buhari to inaugurate the board of NDDC. What we have now remains an aberration”.

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