The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, says Nigeria cannot afford another form of crisis in the South South geo-political zone as being currently witnessed in some regions in the country.
Akpabio said this Tuesday night while fielding questions from State House reporters after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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The minister, while reacting to a question on his peace mission with some stakeholders in the South-South over the ultimatum to reconstitute the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said he met with ex-agitators in the region for the sake of preserving the economic backbone of the country.
Akpabio, who said the meeting was a way of calming tension, advised political leaders in other crisis-prone regions to adopt the same strategies to halt restiveness in their areas.
Asked whether he was not under pressure to reconstitute the NDDC board, he said: “Nobody has put me under pressure to reconstitute the board.
“I can sponsor any group of people to make a statement but the major thing is peace of the region.
Akpabio, while speaking on the reconstitution of the NNDC board, said the process had been fast-tracked as the names of nominees would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly.
He, however, insisted that the ongoing field forensic audit of the commission must be completed as the outcome would serve as a guide to the board’s operations.
According to him, the audit report should be turned in by the end of July.
The former Akwa Ibom State governor said: “The most important thing is not just to clean up the mess but how to reposition the NDDC to ensure optimal performance as against the practice in the past where it was just an agency for the purposes of election only.
“So, the field forensic audit is on course and is progressing very well.