Youths from the coastal communities in Ondo state, on Wednesday took to the streets in Igbokoda, headquarters of Ilaje local government area of the state, protesting the non appointment of the Commissioner representing the area in the Niger Delta Development Commission( NDDC), by the federal government.
The protesting youths under the auspices of Niger Delta Youth Movement(NDYM) who blocked the office of the commission as early as 9am also protested against many uncompleted projects in the area by NDDC.
Armed with placards of various inscription such as; “Ondo state marginalised in NDDC board, “No Ondo State in NDDC board, no peace in the area, “Mr President, We need our Representative in the NDDC board”, “Youth neglection: Causes of Robbery,Insurgency among others, blocked the main entrance, chanting different songs.
The leader of the protest and the chairman of the NDYM, Alaba Adetoye Agbejoye, noted that the commission had deviated from its original purpose of bringing development to the Niger Delta areas but said the commission has been inflicting pain and hardship on the people.
He called on the Federal government to appoint an indigene of the oil producing area in the state to fill the vacuum of Ondo State representative in the board of NDDC in the interest of equity and fairness.
He noted that the state is being treated as non- member of NDDC saying that the oil producing area in the state had been sidelined for many years without any response from the government.
He said ” We are aware of some money released for Christmas for us but nothing has been given to us in Ondo State and we are graduates without work,”
“Worrisome is the great level of corruption, inequality and injustice going on at the head office in the Port Harcourt. The commission has now been characterised by unholy coalition between contractors and NDDC staff to deprive the people of the region their rights.
“In Ondo State, 85 percent of yearly budget are either uncompleted or abandoned. For 3years now, no meaningful programme for the youths of the area. The vacuum created by non appointment of an Ondo State representative in the board has widened the extent of marginalisation of Ondo State in the last 2 months by the new board.
“The situation of sit at the top and share the money will no longer be tolerated. We will not fold our hands while the marginalisation continues in Port Harcourt “.
Reacting, the state Director of NDDC, Engineer Emmanuel Audu, who spoke with our correspondent on phone attributed the delay in the completion of projects in the area to lack of fund.
Audu said that NDDC was already building power terminal to be connected with Omotosho Power grid to ensure power supply to the area, adding that NDDC in the state did not receive any money for the development of the area.