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Niger Delta groups back Senate over stand on NDDC board



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Two groups, the Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC) and the Coalition of Niger Delta People with Disabilities (CNDPD) on Thursday threw their weight behind the Nigerian Senate over its stand that only the confirmed board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) would be allowed to defend the budget of the agency.

The group, which commended Senate’s stand on the issue, calling for the immediate swearing in of the confirmed board members, also condemned the Nigerian Police for allegedly brutalizing some of its members who had staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, demanding that the confirmed board be sworn in.

The groups, in a joint statement signed by the National Coordinator of the NDYC, Engr Jator Abido as well as Beke Apere, Chief George Kpesu and Preye Simon for the Coalition of Niger Delta People with Disabilities, demanded an apology from the Police for brutalizing the Rivers State Coordinator of NDYC, Comr. Chinedu Livinus, Mr Emmanuel Benjamin aka Gen Omormor and others who they said are still receiving treatment in the hospital.

The groups said: “It is unacceptable that the Police would allow itself to be used as a stooge to disrupt a civil protest which is within our rights as citizens. Our demands during the protest in Port Harcourt calling for the immediate swearing in of a Board confirmed by the National Assembly is the least thing expected of any group that has the interest of the Niger Delta region at heart.

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“That the interim committee which by all means is illegal would mobilize the Police to disrupt a peaceful, patriotic movement thus says a lot. It has become clearer that this illegal interim committee that was smuggled into the Commission at the eleventh hour is the handiwork of those who fought tooth and nail to frustrate the composition of the Board that has been applauded by all well-meaning Niger Deltans”, the statement noted.

Commending the Senate, the groups described the call by the Senate on the Executive to immediately swear in the Board it had confirmed ahead of the commission’s budget defence as patriotic.

“We Commend the Senate for taking such a patriotic stand as allowing an illegal interim committee to defend the budget would only make a mockery of the commission, the National Assembly and the nation at large. We equally commend Senate Minority Leader, Sen Enyinnaya Abaribe for bringing up the matter on the floor of the Senate”.

It would be recalled that the Senate had on Tuesday insisted that only the confirmed board of the NDDC can defend the 2019, 2020 budgets of the commission forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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