Writer:Taiwo Adisa-Abuja

Niger Delta youths and a group of ex-militants in the region have warned the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari against merging the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as a parastatal under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

The youths and 26 groups under the aegis of the South South Mandate (SSM) made the position known after a meeting in Warri, Delta State, vowing that Niger Deltans will not allow their interest to be subjugated and trampled upon by the Federal Government under whatever guise.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and signed by its Chief Convener, Mr Victor Akpe, the youths said their reaction was based on emerging reports of moves by the incoming administration to merge the NDDC with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as a parastatal in the course of implementing the Stephen Oronsaye Report on the reform of MDAs.

The youths noted in the communiqué, which was made available to newsmen in Abuja, that the NDDC remained the closest government interventionist agency for the poor and neglected people of the Niger Delta region, adding that they would not tolerate any attempt to further annihilate and humiliate the people of the oil-rich but ravaged and deprived region.

According to the youths, if part of the reasons for the planned merger was based the complaints of non-performance against the agency, the Federal Government should be held responsible due to its failure to release over N700billion statutory funds owed the agency.

The coalition warned that warned that nobody should take the present peace in the region for granted as, according to them, the people re aggrieved over some aspects of the just concluded election which they believed were manipulated.

The communique read in part: “While we are still evaluating the import of March 28, 2015 presidential poll robbery through a well-orchestrated regional gang-up, procedural compromise and massive intimidation of electorates in some parts of the country, we shall vehemently resist further humiliation and annihilation of our people.”

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