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Buhari’s ministers; Sylva, Akpabio, speak on alleged rift over NDDC Board

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has denied claims by traditional rulers of Bayelsa West Senatorial District that he was at war with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over the latter’s nominee for a substantive Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Seven traditional rulers had in a letter they addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari kicked against alleged moves by Sylva to upturn Akpabio’s nomination of one Elder Denyanbofa Dimaro, who hails from Peretorugbene in Ekeremor, Bayelsa West, as the substantive Managing Director of the NDDC.

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But Sylva in a statement signed on Tuesday by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Julius Bokoru, said he had no row with Akpabio over the formation of the NDDC board.

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He described the report that he was trying to truncate the chances of certain individuals from being Managing Director of the region’s apex interventionist agency as false and “a string of poorly thought-out and poorly crafted lies that should be totally disregarded and discarded.”

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The statement said Sylva had maintained excellent relations with Akpabio and that they considered themselves brothers and comrades in the quest of building a more prosperous Niger Delta and a stronger Nigeria.

“Sylva is currently hosting the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) and while he has the development of the Niger Delta at heart, he is not fixated on who becomes who in the formation of the NDDC board.

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“He rather hopes and prays that for the sake of the development of the region, competent, committed, compassionate and patriotic people get appointed.

“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.

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“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 Honourable Minister will attract even more development to the region as he is doing and will keep working towards a more peaceful South-South region,” the statement added.

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