Traditional rulers under the aegis of Traditional Rulers of Oil Producing Communities in Nigeria (TROMPCON) have called on oil companies to remit their three per cent contributions to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) or leave the region.
The Secretary of TROMPCON and the Odoka of Ogbaro kingdom, Oba Dr Obafemi Ogbaro made the call on behalf of the group in a statement released on Sunday.
Ogbaro said the people of the Niger Delta region needs to cooperate with the Minister of the Niger Delta, Sen. Godswill Akpabio and the newly inaugurated Interim Management Committee headed by the acting Managing Director, Prof Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei in delivering the mandate of the commission to the people of the region.
He urged the commission’s directors to cooperate and work with the IMC committee to deliver on its mandate, adding that the cooperation was necessary irrespective of their political, religious, ethnic and social leanings.
“We are not unaware of the activities of many of the redeployed directors of the commission and others inciting their paid lackeys to publish falsehoods about the minister and the new Interim Management Committee.
“We are particularly miffed about the sponsored spate of blackmail, backbiting and persistent bad press and attacks on the personality of the minister and by extension the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is not only counterproductive, it also portends an ill omen as it imposes on our people as the proverbial grass that always suffers where two elephants clash,” Ogbaro said.
Ogbaro advised that all parties to sheathe their swords of accusations and counter-accusations of fraud, pending the outcome of the audit report ordered by Mr President to determine among others the past financial details of the commission and to investigate fraud and other sharp practises.
Ogbaro said, “We feel encouraged by speedy payment of allowances to our sons and daughters studying in the diaspora after years of neglect; the ongoing verification of contractor claims; and expeditious commitment to move the commission to its befitting and permanent headquarters, all in the space of the short time since the inauguration of the IMC.
“We thank the commission for its support to ameliorate the sufferings of our people as a result of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, through the state governments.
“We, however, urge them to route some of this support through the fourth and closest tier to the people; the natural and traditional rulers in the next round of planned palliatives.
He said, “We urge the National Assembly through its relevant committees in both chambers to use its oversight powers to eradicate the evil practises from the past, of forcing the Commission to execute projects of little or no bearing to its mandate or the region in a bid to enrich vested interests, within and without the National Assembly.
“They should rather work tirelessly to expedite the budget and prompt release of funds to the commission, more importantly, the NASS must bring to bear the full might of their powers on the oil companies that consistently flout the law by not remitting their three per cent contributions to the NDDC thereby denying the commission of much needed funds to execute its mandate.
“We are ready to cooperate with the NDDC, NASS and the ministry to sue these companies and stop their operations in the region, if they continue to fail to comply.”
Ogbaro, however, noted that its desire remains to work with all stakeholders to see an efficient NDDC delivering on its mandate of a renewed Niger Delta region.
This, he added would bring about a community where the people would reap the benefits of a political, socio-cultural and technological revolution in infrastructures and human capital development towards improving the wellbeing of the region and its people.
The interim committee includes Elder Ibanga Bassey Etang. Ag Executive Director (finance and administration), Dr Cairo Ojougboh .Ag Executive Director (project), Mrs Cecilia Bukola Aki tomide(member) and Mrs Caroline Nagbo(member).