Group known as Niger Delta Accountability and Development Coalition, Tuesday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to scrap the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and comply with the commissions Act by inaugurating the Governing Board for the NDDC.
Disclosing this in a statement signed by Comrade Johnson Epia, the groups National Coordinator, the Niger Delta group gave reasons Buhari and the National Assembly should comply with the law.
Read the full statement below:
“The news of the Senate’s Decision to constitute a Committee to probe an alleged N40billion fraud in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Commission came to us as a surprise because the Senate ab initio allowed IMC, we considered to be illegal to submit the NDDC Budget Proposal to it, which it also approved, contrary its earlier constitutionally-justified decision not to recognise and/or relate with such Interim Management Committee, having screened and confirmed nominees for the Governing Board of the NDDC as prescribed by the NDDC Act, 2000, as amended.
“We wish to restate that the NDDC Act does not recognize any form of Interim Management Committee or indeed any other form of Management in whatever manner or by whatever name called except as strictly prescribed in the NDDC Act, 2000, as amended, particularly sections 2 and 10 of the Act, which are the Governing Board and Management Committee and whose members must be nominated to the Senate for screening and confirmation by the President of Nigeria.
“The NDDC Act provides for the president to nominate a chairman, managing director, two executive directors and one person who shall be an indigene of an oil producing area to represent each of the following member States, that is: Abia, Akwa-lbom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers states, and three persons to represent each of the non-oil mineral producing geo-political zones. Other members are: a representative of Oil producing companies in the Niger- Delta nominated by the Oil producing companies; one person to represent the Federal Ministry of Finance; and one person to represent Federal Ministry of Environment. By the provisions of the NDDC Act, they shall be appointed for a fixed term of four years in the first instance subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
“This is the constitutional provision duly followed by President Buhari who officially nominated members for the Governing Board and Management Committee vied a letter to the Senate dated 18th October 2019 and personally signed by him which was read on the floor of the Senate by the President of the Senate.
“As required by Section 2 (2a) of the NDDC Act, 2000 which President Buhari also specifically cited in his Letter to the Senate seeking the confirmation of the nominees therein, the Senate screened and confirmed the nominees exactly the same way it confirmed other nominees for Appointments and is still confirming many others for other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria and who immediately resumed their duties without any incumbrance.
“Why then is that of this Governing Board of NDDC different, which has been causing huge embarrassment to President Buhari, the Senate and Nigeria, and creating avoidable tension in the Oil Producing States of Nigeria?
“Why did the Senate go contrary to its firm and lawful decision not to recognise or relate with any Interim Management Committee (IMC) and not to appropriate any fund to NDDC under it?
“How does the confirmed Governing Board become an obstacle to the well appreciated and welcomed decision of President Buhari to engage reputable External Auditors to carry out holistic forensic auditing of the Commission.
“The excuse by those who advised President Buhari to constitute an Interim Management Committee while keeping the confirmed Governing Board on hold, claiming that such illegal IMC is desirable to supervise the forensic auditing before the inauguration of the Governing Board, is not only faulty but appears a carefully planned agenda to ridicule President Buhari and the National Assembly.
“It has become the stock in trade of various groups to make spurious and dubious claims that those demanding the disbandment of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are doing so because they are opposed to the forensic audit. This is a blatant lie because as civil society organisations we have demanded a comprehensive audit of the NDDC for several years.
“However, there is no proper audit anywhere in the world by reputable auditors that needs the supervision of the management, let alone an illegal management committee, else it loses its independence and credibility. No serious audit requires the management of the place to supervise it, except, of course, it is an audit with predetermined boundaries. The IMC is therefore no more than an interloper in the affairs of the NDDC, which is why Civil Society Organisations have been consistent in demanding that the NDDC be run by the Governing Board.
“Niger-Delta groups like the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) led by elders statesmen of the region, the Ijaw Youth Council, The Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group, Urhobo Nationality Progress Coalition, Isoko Nation Youth Congress, Oyom Movement, the Niger Delta Ijaw Development Resource Association, the Niger Delta Renaissance Coalition, Transparency and Accountability Initiative, Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, and the Niger Delta Progress Group, among others across the length and breadth of the Niger Delta have made the point that the continued stay of the IMC is illegal and should be scrapped.
“The IMC has created the unfortunate needless situation where at least there are four civil matters challenging its legality in various courts across the country. At no time in the history of the NDDC has there been such bedlam as in the last seven months. All these are needless and it is time for the right thing to be done which is to respect the provisions of the NDDC Act and inaugurate its Governing Board without further delay. The All Progressives Congress should see it as a duty to ensure that it is not seen as running an inchoate administration, and more importantly one that does not respect the country’s laws.
“Finally, to remedy this situation, we call on President Buhari to scrap the IMC and re-establish the NDDC Act by inaugurating the Governing Board in line with the Law.
“Now that President Buhari is reported to be reviewing all Appointments and some major Decisions taken under him which may not be to his knowledge or which he was misled to approving, the suspended inauguration of the Governing Board of NDDC should be top on the list.
“We call on President Buhari to scrap the IMC and comply with the NDDC Act by inaugurating the Governing Board for the NDDC.”