Again, President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to use his executive power to follow the law setting up the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and appoint a governing board for the commission.
Buhari was told this following the appointment of Mr Effiong Okon Akwa, a member of the previous Interim Management Committee, as Interim Administrator of the Commission.
Transparency and Accountability Advancement group, through its National Chairman, Comrade Ebi Arogbofa faulted his appointment and called on President Buhari to follow the NDDC law.
Read the statement below:
“Our attention has been drawn to the appointment of Mr Effiong Okon Akwa, a member of the previous Interim Management Committee, as Interim Administrator of the Commission with a mandate to head the agency pending the conclusion of the forensic audit.
“We are bothered at the continuation of this brazen behaviour of the Niger Delta Minister in making appointments of heads of the NDDC, despite sound counsel that it is not only unlawful but disenfranchises the constituent states of the oil producing states to fair representation in the development agency.
“We note that in making the statement approving the appointment of Mr Effiong Akwa, the presidency said it was because of a Court ruling and litigations against the IMC on account of its illegality. It is strange therefore why the president approved this appointment.
“The motive can only be sinister, the reason for which we have previously warned the Buhari regime to be independent and unbiased.
“The presidency should not allow itself to be used by questionable interests for their own personal goals. The Minister clearly has a personal agenda in these whole appointments at the NDDC. Presidency should constitute the Governing Board of the NDDC in line with the Commission’s law. Mr Akwa should not assume that office of the Interim Administrator any further.
“In pushing for the appointment of Mr Akwa and indeed an Interim Administrator, the minister is toying with not just the harmony of the Niger Delta states and it’s many constituent tribes who are not represented at the helm of the NDDC but with the integrity of the forensic audit.
“If anything should be clear from the ruling of the Federal High Court Abuja, which questioned the legality of the IMC, it is that decisions and actions taken under these appointments, including the audit, will be open to litigation. What then would have been the legacy of the Buhari government in spending billions of naira on the audit?
“We have stated previously, as have many groups and distinguished Nigerians, including senior lawyers, that the IMC is illegal and there is no reason for not inaugurating a Governing Board for the NDDC. The excuses are not just specious but unintelligent because much bigger institutions such as the NNPC and NPA have undergone such audits without tinkering with their legal management as provided in the laws setting them up. Why must that of the NDDC be different if there are no games behind the scene?
“It is sad that the desecration and disregard for the NDDC Act is taking place under the nose of the National Assembly, which must sit up and insist that the proper thing be done. The peace in the Niger Delta region should not be taken for granted as many nationalities, groups and stakeholders have continued to question the propriety of appointing an Interim Administrator for the NDDC.
“We call on President Buhari to follow the law setting up the NDDC and appoint a Governing Board for the Commission to put an end to this.”