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Obey Court Order, Inaugurate NDDC Board, Group Urges FG

Niger Delta Peoples’ Forum (NDPF) has called on the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to carry out the ruling of Hon. Justice Isa Dashen of the Federal High Court, sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and allow the inauguration of the substantive Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in accordance with the provisions of the NDDC Act 2000 as amended.

NDDC has been without a substantive Board since 2019, allegedly to allow for the Forensic Auditing of the Commission. However, the audit has since been concluded and the Report submitted to President Buhari through the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Malami, since September 2, 2021, seven months ago.

According to Chief Boma Ebiakpo, National Chairman of NDPF, the Attorney General of the Federation should carry out the orders of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa.

According to the group, President Buhari and APC need to be reminded that they should be mindful of being misled to violate the clear provision of the NDDC Act which stipulates that only the Nigerian Senate screened and confirmed Board is to manage and administer the NDDC.

Ebiakpo also reminded both President Buhari and APC of the dire political consequences they stand to suffer come 2023 general elections if they continue to allow a few persons mislead them to do this grave injustice to the exploited people of the Niger Delta on the NDDC issue.

NDPF recounted that the situation currently in NDDC which has subsisted for over two years, and created heightened tension and increased agitation in the region, is that there is an illegal sole administrator who is both Managing Director, Executive Director of Finance, and Executive Director Projects, in clear breach of NDDC Act which ensures separation of these duties to ensure checks and balances.

According to the group, the continued administration of the NDDC by a sole administrator contraption is illegal because the NDDC Act has no provision for this illegality as the NDDC Act only provides that the Board and Management of the NDDC at any point in time should follow the provisions of the law which states that the Board and management is to be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. In effect, nobody is supposed to begin to administer the NDDC and utilise the huge funds accruing to it on a monthly basis without passing through this legal requirement as stipulated in the NDDC Act.

Ebiakpo maintained that “the continued illegality of the interim management committees/sole administrator contraptions administering NDDC since October 2019 in breach of the law, NDDC Act, is a national embarrassment that should be of grave concern to President Buhari, most especially for his legacy when he leaves office in May 2023.”

According to the group, “President Buhari should also be concerned about the disdain of the Niger Delta people over the manner he has handled the NDDC, most especially administering the Commission with illegal interim management/sole administrator contraptions for five years in his nearly seven years in office, and therefore needs to end the ongoing illegality in NDDC if he is to be remembered for good in the Niger Delta.”

NDPF stated that the orders of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, for the AGF to allow the inauguration of the substantive Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in accordance with the law, the NDDC Act, is therefore a welcome development which will guarantee equitable representation of the nine constituent states.

The group therefore urged the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to carry out the ruling of Hon. Justice Isa Dashen of the Federal High Court, sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to allow the inauguration of the substantive Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in compliance with the NDDC Act and end the illegal Interim sole administratorship. This, they believe, will guarantee equitable representation of the nine constituent states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers, and thereby ensure proper corporate governance, accountability, transparency, and probity in managing the Commission.

Culled from This Day