The leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chairman Edwin Clark, has said that the Federal Government should create commissions for the other oil producing communities that have been found in the country in recent years, and that Abia, Imo, and Ondo states be removed from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday, Clark spoke on the recent development where Imo State had taken the board of NDDC to court, requesting that the NDDC bequeaths more funds to the minority oil producing company and give them more opportunity to head the commission.
In response to this, the PANDEF chairman said, “The situation is almost getting out of control. As you were told just now, the Imo state has gone to court, that the board, confirmed by the senate, in accordance with the law establishing NDDC, should not be sworn in, should not take office, they should be replaced. Take note, it is very provocative in the sense that the major oil producing states are four- Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers. Between them, they produce over 90% of the crude oil being produced.
“Between the others, they produce about 8%. Imo, which has taken NDDC to court, the Federal Government to court, produces 1.01%. Abia produces 0.9%. Edo produces 4%, and Ondo about 3%. Put them together. And these are the people now wanting to take over the management of NDDC ta the expense of the majority ethnic states.
“So, instead, the NDDC infrastructural development had been on equal basis instead of being determined by the amount of oil you produce. The staff in the NDDC from these minority oil producing communities are more than the staff from those four major oil producing communities. What do they therefore want? So, a man who produces .09 should become the Managing Director of NDDC. Compare it with a Limited Liability Company where a nominal share holder wants to be a managing Director, chairman of the company. It’s unheard of, it’s unfair, unequitable and provocative.
“That’s why I said now that oil has been found in other parts of Nigeria like Gombe, Bauchi, Lagos, Anambra, Anambra today produces more oil than Abia, they produce .09%. These are figures from the Federal Government in August this year, one is not guessing.”
Clark then said the funds that come to NDDC are given to each state equally, explaining, “What comes to NDDC is spent on equal basis contrary to the convention that development will be determined by the quantity of oil you produce. Employment of staff will be determined, but they forgot about that, let’s work together, but these people said they are not satisfied. Instead of allowing these people to prevent the development of the NDDC, they should go. The law should be amended. Oil has now been found all over the country, why Niger Delta? We are coastal people.”
Clark then said that the NDDC will send a memo to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to make their request known, saying “We are going to send a comprehensive memorandum to Mr. President, we will issue a statement… In our memorandum, we are going to state very clearly, because without the restructuring of Nigeria, whereby every Nigerian will be equal to aspire to any position that he merits, Nigeria cannot be together, and he wants to rule a united Nigeria.
“What we are now saying is that now that oil has been discovered in some other places, they should now form a south-east oil producing commission, a north-west oil producing commission, north-east oil producing communities, south-west, the same thing, and leave NDDC to perform the duties Willinks commission recommended in 1958. That is my case.”