Ms Annkio Briggs, an environmental and human rights activist operating in the Niger Delta region has called for attitudinal change toward the running of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Briggs made the call while fielding questions from journalists after receiving the Sole Administrator of the commission, Mr Effiong Akwa on a courtesy visit at her residence on Friday.
She described the attitude of some indigenes of the Niger Delta toward the activities of the NDDC as “very bad”, stressing the need for positive change in order to impact development of the region.
The activist alleged that some members of the National Assembly from the region were sabotaging the activities of the NDDC.
According to her, a particular name has come up over and over again, fingered to have collected so many contracts from the commission; no, if something is wrong, it is wrong.
“Our attitude towards the NDDC is the wrong attitude, we should change it and take the right attitude.
“Politicians should not trade with the NDDC Act; situations where one politician from Bayelsa is ready to trade a position that should go to Delta in return for Delta taking a position that is meant for Bayelsa should not be like that.
“If it is meant for Bayelsa, it must go to Bayelsa, whatever is meant for Delta should go to Delta; after all, the last Managing Director was from Akwa Ibom and we were not seen fighting him.
“This new attitude that is manipulating our people, we have to stop it, it won’t get us anywhere, it will get us absolutely nowhere,” she stressed.
It would be recalled that the interventionist agency in recent past has come under stern scrutiny following multiple allegations of financial indecency in the commission.
The allegation had prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to order for a forensic audit of the commissions financial records to determine the true state of its financials. An Interim Management Committee (IMC) was appointed to oversee the process.
And following a Court Order restraining the IMC from operating, President Buhari appointed Akwa as sole administrator to oversee the commission and ensure unhindered success of the forensic audit exercise.
Briggs as well opposed calls from some quarters to transfer the NDDC which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to the presidency.
She said it was sensible for the ministry and the commission to work in synergy for the common interest of the people of the region.
“If we know what we are doing as people of the Niger Delta region, it is for the NDDC to work with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“What is in the best interest of the Niger Delta people and the development of the region is what we want.
“How the funds that is coming into NDDC coffer is being utilised for the development of the region is what we are looking for,” she added.
Briggs, a former spokesperson of the Ijaw Republican Assembly (IRA), welcomed the appointment of Akwa as sole administrator saying that he was qualified for the job.
She said Effiong Akwa should be allowed to do the job as he had done no wrong since his appointment, pledging to speak out if he is found wanting.
Briggs, however, charged indigenes and residents of Niger Delta to look inwards with a view to solving the problems facing the region.
Earlier, Awka said that he was willing to work in synergy with all stakeholders for the development of the Niger Delta region.
He said that it was important for all hands to be on deck to solve the many challenges bedevilling the region for many years.
The sole administrator said his reason for the courtesy visit was to bring the activist and all other stakeholders to the table to further spin the wheel of progress in the region.
“The steps we have taken in the past few weeks clearly show we are determined to reposition the commission to work for the generality of the people.
“More importantly, we believe the stakeholders should know and be part of what we are doing.
“We cannot afford to build an imaginary fence around us, if the commission is for the people, then it must truly be for the people and by the people.
“This is why we are determined to carry stakeholders along in our activities”.
“Like I said before, we won’t perform on the pages of newspapers, true performance speaks louder,” he said.