By Ignatius Ushie.
The Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has urged protesting youths from the Niger Delta to end the protest to ensure sustainable peace in the region.
The minister, who stated this while addressing representatives of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) in Abuja, expressed fears that the protest if allowed to continue might be hijacked by hoodlums who may cause havoc.
Akpabio, who remarked that the Niger Delta which has been one of the most peaceful regions in the country, should not allow itself to be plunged into crisis, promising that the issues tabled by the youths from the region will be addressed.
According to him, a board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be constituted after the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akpabio recalled that the audit exercise was to be completed within six months. But he regretted that the exercise was extended by three months due to the difficult nature of the job adding that the auditors have already submitted two interim reports to the president. The Minister said by July, the auditors are expected to submit their final report to pave way for the inauguration of the board.
Responding on behalf of IYC, the National Spokesperson, Ebilade Ekerefe appealed to the Federal government and security agencies to rescue the President of the council, Igbifa who was adopted on his way to Abuja Tuesday morning.
Ekerefa noted that the Igbifa was on his way to Abuja to lead the council to the discussion with the Minister of Niger Delta when the unfortunate incident took place.
He, however, called on their protesting members in the region to remain calm and peaceful because the issue of the constitution of the board of NDDC which ignited the protest is been addressed by the Federal Government through the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.