Port Harcourt — The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has debunked the purported rift with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, over formation of a substantive Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
This is as there has been tension in the Niger Delta region over the inauguration of a substantive Board of NDDC, fuelled by threats and counter-threats by ex-agitators, as well as unconfirmed reports of a row between the two Ministers.
Some stakeholders had reportedly claimed that Sylva was attempting to truncate chances of certain individuals in the region from becoming Managing Directors of NDDC, a claim which the Minister has described as untrue.
The Petroleum Minister who explained that the purported rift was false and should be disregarded, said he has the development of the Niger Delta at heart and was not in any way focused on who is appointed in the formation of the NDDC Board.
Sylva in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Julius Bokoru, said he prayed that for the sake of development of the oil rich region, competent, committed, compassionate and patriotic people got appointed.
The Oil Minister added that he has maintained excellent relationship with Akpabio through the years and that they considered themselves brothers and comrades in the quest of building a prosperous Niger Delta and a stronger Nigeria.
“It is nothing more than a string of poorly thought-out and poorly crafted lies that should be totally disregarded and discarded.
“The architects of that story conveniently forgot to mention that the appointment of the NDDC executive members is strictly the prerogative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The fake, divisive article is intended to create anxiety in the Niger Delta region to the desperate ends of its sponsors which is to create needless tension and chaos.
“The public is thereby advised to disregard that report as it is totally untrue, malicious and engineered purely for mischief.
“Sylva will continue building harmony amongst Niger Delta leaders, the minister will attract even more development to the region as he is doing and will keep working toward a more peaceful South-South region,” the statement said.