A Group, the Niger Delta Development Initiative (NDDI) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which he appointed in August 2019.
In a petition signed by its President, Ebikalome Tonye Anselm and Secretary-General, Johnson Oghenekevbe, it drew the President’s attention to the illegalities in the commission and the need to act in accordance with the law setting up the NDDC.
President Buhari had sent Dr. Pius Odubu and Bernard Okumagba’s names to the Senate for approval in October 2019 as Chairman and Managing Director of the commission, which the lawmakers confirmed along with 13 other nominees as members of the board.
But instead of inaugurating the board, the President appointed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) for the Commission.
In their petition, the NDDI also appealed to Buhari to sack Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, for usurping the functions of the commission in violation of the spirit and letters of the enabling law that set up NDDC.
The group further accused Akpabio of advising President Buhari against the inauguration, whose objective was to join other compatriots to develop the Niger Delta region. It recalled how a Federal High court sitting in Abuja on January 20, 2021, in suit marked: FHC/ABJ/617/2020 between the Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Governance revealed that it did not grant any interim injunction to the Pondei-led IMC, which was dissolved in December 2020.
Meanwhile, National Leader of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCOM), Prof. Jasper F. Jambo, has faulted recent calls on the Federal Government to scrap the NDDC, saying it was irresponsible and should be ignored.
One Chief Benjamin Style Tams, who spoke on behalf of HOSCOM as its National President, had last Tuesday, asked the Federal Government to scrap the NDDC, describing it as the worst interventionist agency in the country.
He alleged that the NDDC was a cesspool of corruption, hence the need to scrap it and establish a Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas Commission (NCPOGC). But in his reaction yesterday, Jambo in a statement urged the Federal Government and Nigerians to disregard the call, describing the source as “an impostor who hijacked, diverted and forged HOSCOM’s documents.”
He stated that the call was an insult, gross disregard and disrespect for eminent personalities from the Niger Delta like King Alfred Diette-Spiff, Bishop Mike Emus, Wellington Okrika, Eze Amadi, Frank Okurakpo and others, who have been labouring to ensure a better deal for oil producing communities.