The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has absolved himself from blame in the delay to constitute the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The minister, however, asked protesters to channel their grievances to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akpabio’s response was contained in a letter dated November 30th addressed to the Coordinator of the Wailing Women of Niger Delta (WWND), Odighonin Nwadighi.
The women have been protesting the refusal of Akpabio and the Federal Government to inaugurate the board insisting that the current management structure of NDDC was against the Act establishing the commission.
Apart from recently blocking the entrance of the NDDC corporate headquarters in Port Harcourt, the women also wrote a letter to Akpabio on the matter.
But Akpabio, whose reply was signed by his ministry’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Alfred A. Abah, said he lacked powers to constitute the board.
Addressing the women, the letter said: “I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated November 18, 2021 on the above subject and inform you that your requests are not within the powers of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“Accordingly, I am further directed to advise that you kindly redirect your appeal to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria for his kind consideration.”
On September 3, Akpabio sent a similar letter to youths under the auspices of the South-South Youth Initiative (SSYI) when their Leader, Saviour Oscar, gave him 14-day ultimatum to either inaugurate the board or face protest.