Women under the aegis of Wailing Women of the Niger Delta (WWND), yesterday, barricaded the entrance to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, protesting alleged failure by the Federal Government to publish forensic audit report and to constitute a substantive board for the Commission.
The women, who carried placards with various inscriptions such as ‘No more one-man show,’ ‘Minister, we need a board,’ demanded the immediate dissolution of the interim management committee of the NDDC and women inclusion in a substantive board.
The coordinator of the group, Adienbo Odighonu, a lawyer, told newsmen the women decided to speak up where men chose to play politics with the commonwealth of the region.
She called for the immediate sack of the NDDC’s sole administrator, noting that his continued stay in office contravenes the Act that set up the NDDC.
“I am here because Akpabio thinks he has compromised and bought over all the people of Niger Delta. The NDDC Acts states there is nothing like interim administration that they should constitute a board to bring development to our grassroots.
“I come from the grassroots, I know what our men, women, and children are passing through. We are here to change the narrative. We are here to tell the people of Nigeria, that Akpabio, Malami, and Buhari should constitute the board.
“We are here to tell them that the illegal sole administrator should be dissolved, and if they do not listen to our calls, we promise them that we are going to protest naked. This is just the beginning.”
Another protester, Loveth Timothy, reechoed the call for the NDDC board to be constituted and for the forensic audit report to be made public.
“Our men have failed us, we want to do what they have not been able to do. They have asked some of us to come for discussion; we are not ready to compromise. We are here for the right thing to be done,” she said.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations in the state, Udu Ogechi, who received the women’s protest letter, urged them to be calm and assured them that their demands would be channeled to the authorities.
“I am in charge of operations in this command. So, I have come to know your anger, need, and request. I am going to take them to the authorities and I assure you that they will be resolved,” she said.
MEANWHILE, another group of women drawn from the Niger Delta region have lamented the non-implementation of the National Gender Policy (NGP), which provides them with a constitutional backing to have a say in developmental issues that concern them.
The women claimed that NGP has not still solved the issue of gender parity, noting that since the formulation of the policy in 2003, they have not benefited from it.
They disclosed this during training on gender equality and social inclusion for ward councilors, faith-based/community leaders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
They argued that NGP could not be implemented in Nigeria if it remains at the national level, saying that it should be domesticated at state and local government levels.
Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, Emem Okon, charged state governments to implement the NGP in all states, adding that it would add credibility to the electoral process.