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In what could aptly be described as another political stratagem aimed at crippling the huge success and milestones recorded by
the Prof. Nelson Braimbraifa-led management team of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Gov. Wike of Rivers State, in the early hours of Tuesday, sealed the premises of the Niger Delta Development Commission's Headquarters in Port Harcourt.

As early as 6am, Staff were denied entry into the premises of the Commission as the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue, claiming to be acting under a Court order, sealed off the Commission over what it described as non tax compliance with the payment of outstanding tax liabilities that have accumulated over 5 years from 2012 - 2017 to the tune of Fifty Billion Naira.

It would be recalled that the new management team of the NDDC was put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 2019 and is barely 3 months in office even though it has recorded tremendous achievements and notable interventions within this short period.

Given Wike's artifice and political shenanigans, one is forced to believe he is threatened by the achievement of the Commission in bolstering the economic power of residents whom his government has greatly impoverished.

It is also believed that Wike who is known to be sore afraid of any form of challenge may have been threatened by the rising profile of the young and vibrant Ag. Executive Director Finance and Administration, Dr. Chris Amadi, who hails from Rivers State given the benefits, empowerments and interventions he has attracted to the people of Rivers State through his position as an Executive Director in the Commission within a very short period.

It is a known fact that within a month after assumption of office, the Ag. EDFA facilitated the distribution of 13, 800 school desks to schools across the 23 LGAs in Rivers State thereby improving the learning conditions in these schools.

Additionally, the new management team of the Commission has embarked on numerous life-changing programs that have massively improved the lives of youths across the region. For instance, the Prof. Nelson Braimbraifa-led management team initiated verification and payment of contractors owed N20million and below as well as cleared all backlog of Water Hyacinth payments owed for over 3years.

Only recently, it embarked on another payment of the Niger Delta Volunteers Surveillance Scheme with over 3000 youths and women of the Niger Delta region as beneficiaries irrespective of party affiliation. These interventions no doubt, have placed resources in the hands of many who were frustrated and resorted to taking up employment as Neighborhood watchdogs.

These are only a few of the major people-based programs that the new management team of NDDC has embarked upon within a very short period. Of course, there are the emergency road intervention projects and others that have given the people of the region a sense of pride and satisfaction.

Reports have it that Gov. Wike, having failed to judiciously apply the resources of Rivers State to viable projects that would improve the living conditions of the people is obviously jittery over the bold face of the Commission's management team towards advancing infrastructural and economic development in Rivers State and Niger Delta at large.

It is no surprise that Gov. Wike is desperately in need of resources to fund his tribunal cases after lavishing billions of naira belonging to the State to remain in office. Clearly, Wike is up to no good as he is bent on frustrating the genuine efforts of the Prof Braimbraifa-led NDDC to reposition and strategically empower the youths of the region to cut down on criminality and sustain the relative peace enjoyed in the region.

As a discerning mind, one is compelled by common sense to question the rationale behind such outrageous tax. The 50 Billion Naira claimed as accumulated tax for a period of five years suggests an annual tax of 10 Billion Naira. One can only imagine how rich the Rivers State Government must be after returns from all humongous taxes on multinationals and other similar organizations. Clearly, there is more than meets the eyes.

It is therefore, easy for the youths of Rivers State and Niger Delta to see for themselves who their true enemy is. One wonders how much property tax Wike has paid for his edifice in his hometown covering a considerable stretch of land along Ada-George road.

As a concerned citizen of the Niger Delta who have keenly followed the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission, I feel gravely concerned over this sad development and I believe it calls for immediate action. Our people must rise in defence of the NDDC under the present management as they mean so well for our people.

-Arch. Nengi Georgewill
NDDC Indigenous Contractors Forum.