Group Petitions Buhari, Alleges Marginalisation Over NDDC Appointments.
The group called for immediate cancellation of affected appointments, even as it urged that one of its own be appointed as chairman of the board.
The Igba of Itsekiri Kingdom, Chief (Mrs) Rita Lori Ogbebor, raised this concern on behalf of her community at a press briefing, saying the action on the part of the group was in the interest of justice, fairness and equity.
According to her, the group had since expressed its concern in a letter she signed and titled: 'A protest on the recent appointment to the Board of the Niger Development Commission,' and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the letter, copies of which made available to newsmen, the group complained that some of the appointments made by the commission did not comply with laid down procedures.
The letter reads, 'Our protest is based on the non- compliance with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) law, lack of equity, fairness and justice to our ethnic nationality, the Itsekiri people. We know that you stand for these same values. It is also important that you address this continuing and odious impunity being undertaken by some persons acting for and on behalf of the Nigeria State to deprive us of our rightful dues.
'The NNDC law was intended to fast track the development of the region, which underdevelopment had been identified and confirmed by the Willinks Commission Report as far back as 1959. 'The law designed an intervention agency as an organisation to be run by qualified indigenes of the oil and producing communities, states in the main.
'The NDDC by law and in practice takes cognisance of the oil and gas producing communities, states in appointment to its Board and its staffing,' IEN said.
The group contended that one of the provisions of NDDC law for the appointment of the office of the chairman stipulated that the candidate must come from an oil and gas producing state which shall follow in a rotation of states in their alphabetical order, wondering why there should be a deviation this time around from the normal and established pattern.
'Indeed, one provision of NDDC law for the appointment of the office of the chairman is that the candidate must come from an oil and gas producing state which shall follow in a rotation of states in their alphabetical order.
'Your Excellency, previous appointments have followed this order. Why is it that this time, the letter 'E' is taken above 'D.' Why is it considered expedient to appoint a candidate from Edo at a time when it is lawfully the turn of Delta State? the group queried.
IEN argued that the present Managing Director designates Mr Bernard Okumagba was from Okere- Urhobo in Warri South Local Government Area, saying 'he is not from an oil and gas Producing community or even at least from an 'impacted' as defined by our laws and practices.'
'Your Excellency, it is this penchant for not following the rule of law and their intendment, this resort to impunity and being clever by half, that is the bane of our development. Consequently leading to resort to self- help. Somebody who is not from the oil and gas producing communities cannot know or feel the pain and anguish the people are passing through, therefore, cannot solve their problems,' the group asserted.