…As it receives request for the commission’s 2019/2020 budget

BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The leadership of the Senate on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of the provisions of the law, do the needful by allowing the membership of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to take immediate effect.

President of the Senate, who made the position of the Senate known while ruling on a Motion by the Minority Leader of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, said that as far as the Senate is concerned, it has confirmed the request of Mr. President on the board membership of the NDDC, and has accordingly communicated that.

In the words of Lawan; “The next logical thing to do by law is for the appointments of the members of the board to take immediate effect.

“I believe that the executive arm of government will attend to that quickly so that we have the right people to defend the appropriation request of Mr. President,”

The Senate position followed receipt of a request from President Muhammadu Buhari for the consideration and passage of the Nigerian Delta Development Commission (NDDC), 2019/2020 budget proposal.

The President’s request was contained in a letter addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and read on the floor during plenary.

However, immediately the President’s letter for the NDDC budget was read, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, raised a point of order predicated upon Order 43 of the Senate standing rules, and drew the attention of the Senate to the fact that members of the NDDC Board that were screened and duly confirmed by the Senate are yet to resume official duty.

Abaribe noted that the failure of the executive to swear-in members of the NDDC Board as duly confirmed by the Senate sequel to a request from President Buhari, may threaten the early consideration and passage of the Commission’s 2019/2020 budget.

According to him; “The Interim Committee of the NDDC, led by Joy Nunieh, is an illegal contraption that lacks the backing of law to defend the Commission’s budget.

“Having regard to the fact that this Senate has confirmed members of the Board of the NDDC and they are yet to resume office, I fear that we may run into a problem of delayed budget again since nobody will come to defend this budget.

“This Senate, having confirmed the board of the NDDC will not countenance any illegal contraption coming to represent NDDC.

“To prevent a late budget for NDDC that is helping Nigeria on revenue and development of the region, it will be better for us to prevent this issue from coming,” Abaribe advised.

President of the Senate, Lawan Lawan, who sustained Abaribe’s point of order, said; “We are receiving the budget of the NDDC for the year 2020 at the right time.

“This is the first time ever, and this is a good sign that we are operating on the same frequency with the executive arm of government; that we are in a hurry to deal with matters of the budget because it is an issue that will bring about development in the country.”

The Presidential letter reads requesting for the consideration of the NDDC 2019/2020 budget read: “Pursuant to Section 18(1) of the Nigerian Delta Development Commission Establishment Act, I forward herewith 2019/2020 budget estimates of the Niger Delta Development Commission for the kind consideration and passage by the Senate.

“While hoping that the Senate will consider this request in the usual expeditious manner, please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

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