You can’t scrap Niger Delta ministry, Group warns President Tinubu
The Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has warned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu against scrapping the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The forum said this in a communiqué signed by its National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark and National Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien.
It was issued at the end of their meeting in Abuja on Friday.
The forum said the Ministry was created by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and sustained by the successive administrations of President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari and must continue to function.
The forum asked Tinubu to nominate a minister for Niger Delta Affairs, threatening that scrapping the ministry would be met with “adverse consequences.”
The communiqué reads in part, “The meeting discussed issues pertaining to the ongoing appointment and assignment of ministers, as it affects the states of the Niger Delta region and South South geo-political zone, particularly, the omission of the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. The meeting resolves as follows:
“Expresses great surprise that in the published assignment of ministers to their various cabinet portfolios, there is none designated for the existing ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“Reminds Mr. President that the Ministry of Niger Delta was created, specifically, to focus on infrastructural development, environmental protection and empowerment of youths in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, which continues to be greatly impacted by the oil and gas industry, and remains the live-wire of the national economy.
“That the ministry which was created by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2008, and was sustained under his two immediate predecessors (Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari) to help advance the course of the peace in the Niger Delta region.
“Cautions that any misguided step towards scrapping or submerging the ministry, will create an unfavorable environment with adverse consequences.
“Further cautions the federal government to desist from tampering with any institution(s), which along with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, have been flagship institution(s), to ensure peace and development in the Niger Delta region.
“We are hopeful that the federal government will be properly advised on this matter, even as we reiterate the commitment of the leadership of PANDEF and the people of the region to enduring the reign of peace and stability in the overall interest of country.”
Shortly after President Tinubu was sworn in, former Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, urged him to scrap the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, saying it was a duplication of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“Some of the ministries and parastatals that are no longer viable like the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and some other ministries that are not viable should be scrapped.
“We have the Niger Delta Development Commission like we have the North East Development Commission. So the Ministry of Niger Delta should be scrapped,” he had said.
He, however, advised that the NDDC should be repositioned to report directly to the President as stipulated by its establishment Act.