BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The National President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Barrister Eric Omare has urged the National Assembly not to accept any budget proposal from the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), that was inaugurated by the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio
Omare noted that Section 18 of the NDDC Act of 2000 specifically recognised only the substantive Board of the Commission which is statutorily empowered to prepare and submit a budget to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
According to him; “Section 18 of the NDDC Establishment Act, Number 6 of 2000 (as amended), states; “The Board shall not later than 30th September in each year, submit to the National Assembly, through the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces an estimate of the expenditure and income of the Commission during the next succeeding year for approval.”
He said the National Assembly has a duty to defend the law, adding that the problem with NDDC since its inception is with non-adherence to the law establishing the Commission.
Omare further said; “Instead of strictly complying with the law establishing the NDDC, emphasis is placed on political patronage instead of using the NDDC as a platform to develop the Niger Delta region.”
The IYC President regretted that despite the Senate confirmation of a substantive Board for NDDC, the government has not deemed it fit to inaugurate the Board, adding that; “Given the myriad of problems in the region, we had looked forward to the inauguration of the Board, knowing that it will bring a level of sanity and stability to the Commission but unfortunately and to our surprise, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio set up an illegal Interim Management Committee that is not contemplated by the NDDC Act because under the Act there is no room for an interim management committee in the first place.”
He also said; “There is absolutely no reason in the present circumstance for an interim management committee because President Buhari has already exercised his powers under Section 2 of the NDDC Act to nominate members of the substantive board to the National Assembly and the Senate has confirmed members of the substantive board.”
Omare said that what ought to happen is for the substantive board to take over the leadership of the commission immediately but regretted that two weeks after their confirmation, there is still a contraption called an interim management committee presiding over the NDDC in flagrant violation of the law establishing the Commission.