Itsekiri and Niger-Delta woman leader, Chief (Mrs) Rita Lori-Ogbebor, has charged Federal Government to ensure that supervision of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is put under its purview if recent revelations from the probe of the agency by the House of Representatives are anything to go by.
Lori-Ogbebor made this call at the weekend while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, saying that the Muhammadu Buhari-led government should do this to ensure that it was no longer business as usual in the NDDC.
This was just as the woman activist, who is also the Igba of Warri, demanded that the Federal Government should ensure that only someone from an oil-bearing community is appointed as managing director of the agency.
She noted that all these requests were in consonance with the Act setting up the NDDC, as an agency put in charge of the development of Niger Delta region.
“If recent revelations from the probe of the NDDC by the House of Representatives are anything to go by, then the president should ensure it is no longer business as usual in the NDDC.
“This is why we are demanding that apart from ensuring that only someone from an oil-bearing community is appointed as managing director, the NDDC should be placed under the direct supervision of the presidency,” she said.
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“It is instructive to state that these demands are in consonance with the NDDC Act,” she added.
Lori-Ogbebor, who is first female Director of Programmes at then Nigerian Television Service (NTS), in particular, urged the Federal Government to consider an Itsekiri indigene for appointment as next managing director of the Commission, saying it was now the turn of Itsekiri to fill the position, which had been zoned to Delta State.
According to her, the Itsekiri deserved to be given the slot this time around as the people deserved it being a major producer of crude in the Niger Delta region, pointing out that Itsekiri land accounted for about 50 per cent crude in the whole of Niger Delta region and being 17 per cent major producer of the product in the country.
She insisted that people of Itsekiri would not allow the appointment of anyone who is not from the oil-bearing communities as chairman of the board or managing director of the commission.
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“It is now the turn of Itsekiri people to produce the managing director of NDDC. I am not afraid to say it. Anything done otherwise will be morally wrong and injustice.
“Those who don’t produce any crude oil or very little are the one causing problems. Let anybody challenge me that what I am saying is not true. We (Itsekiri) produce 50 per cent of the oil in Niger Delta. It is our turn, the Itsekiri people to produce the MD of NDDC,” she said.
Speaking further, Lori-Ogbebor, who lamented the deplorable situation in the Niger Delta region, said it was incumbent on her being at the forefront of the fight for the development of the region to make sure that the oil-bearing communities in the region get a better deal.
She maintained that Itsekiri people were opposed to anybody parading himself as the political leader of the Niger Delta region on the pretence that the president handed over the region to him, disclosing that plans had been concluded to meet the president to find out true situation of things.
“We have concluded plans to meet the president to find out if truly he has handed over the Niger Delta to one man, who does not care about the sufferings of the people,” she said.