A Coalition of Niger Delta groups on Wednesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the governing board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) following confirmation of the nominees by the Senate.
The National Coordinator of the Coalition, Mr Jator Abido, made the call at Unity Fountain, Abuja during a solidarity match by the leadership of the Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC), National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators and other relevant stakeholders at the Presidential Villa.
It would be recalled that few months ago, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, had inaugurated an interim management team against the team whose names were submitted to the National Assembly by the President for screening.
Abido, who was reading a position paper jointly signed by leadership of the Niger Delta groups, described the inauguration of an NDDC Interim Management Committee by Akpabio as illegal and alien to the NDDC establishment Act.
“Our collective decision to embark on a solidarity march to the Presidential Villa is to engage with relevant government officials and to also state our request that the recently confirmed NDDC Board should be inaugurated immediately by the President.
“The Senate few weeks ago concluded the screening and confirmation of the presidential nominees to the NDDC Board. The highlight of the exercise was the advice by the Senate, urging members of the new Board to assume duties immediately.
The implication of the Senate pronouncement is that the illegal interim management committee inaugurated by Akpabio, has been shut down permanently. This conclusion derives from provisions of the NDDC Act.
“The NDDC Act 2000 in section 1(1) establishes the Commission while section 2(1)(c) creates a Governing Board to oversee and run the affairs of the Commission which only the President has power to appoint and inaugurate after the screening and confirmation by the Senate as contained in section 2(2)(a) of the Act.
“At best, in the discharge of its duties and functions, the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs only has a responsibility to liaise with the NDDC board in order to avoid duplication wherever their functions overlap. No more no less!
“It is therefore legally and morally wrong for the minister to inaugurate a committee to oversee the board,” the National coordinator said.
According to him, the Coalition is looking forward to timely intervention of the President.