·Says it stands firm against NDDC’s alleged intimidation tactics
Social Action, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) says it soundly rejects an attempt by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to silence public discourse.
The NGO said the trend is evidenced by the NDDC’s recent demand to cease broadcasting Social Action’s radio jingle it runs in Abuja.
The group said in a letter dated July 5, 2023, that the NDDC decried Social Action’s jingle for addressing the rampant corruption within their institution.
Social Action fiercely retorted, “Let us be clear: This is an unacceptable attack on our civic freedoms and a blatant attempt to smother the voices of the Niger Delta people, who have long borne the brunt of impoverishment and gross underdevelopment, despite the region’s rich resource endowment and the establishment of a Commission designed to foster its progress”, said Isaac Osuoka, Director of Social Action.
Social Action’s radio program, “The Voice on NDDC,” is committed to promoting robust discussions about accountability within the NDDC. Our aim is to intensify civic actions that drive transparency and ensure the Commission provides inclusive services. Our mission is not to smear the Commission but to expose the stark reality of its operations.
“We have tirelessly extended invitations to both the NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to participate in public discussions aimed at boosting accountability within the NDDC. These overtures have been consistently ignored. The NDDC’s sudden interest in its public image, despite its persistent apathy towards public engagement, is a cause for concern. When dialogue is shunned, the public has every right to form opinions based on the facts at hand.”
The statement went ahead to say Social Action is hopeful that the new management has the capability to correct the myriad of issues plaguing the Commission, as revealed by previous investigations carried out by the executive and legislative arms of the Nigerian government. “However, hope is not a strategy. We call on the new management to demonstrate their commitment to reform by enhancing the Commission’s public image through transparent and accountable actions rather than attempting to manipulate public opinion.
“While we acknowledge the NDDC’s concern, we adamantly refuse to be silenced or have our civic space diminished. We insist the NDDC management take our requests for dialogue seriously and actively engage with media and civil society organizations to better fulfill their mandate.”