How President Buhari violated NDDC Act, by IYC, others
Urge immediate composition of agency’s governing board
Groups, including the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Niger Delta Movement for Peace and Justice, Niger Delta Progressive Front, and the Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD) have faulted the move by President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate today the advisory committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the absence of a substantive governing board for the interventionist agency.
Citing Section 10 (a) of the NDCC Act 2010 which stipulates a 15-member Governing Board, they condemned the setting up of a three-man interim management committee (IMC) in the first place for the commission, insisting that the action runs foul of the agency’s enabling law.
According to the Eric Omare-led IYC, the decision to raise an advisory committee when no board had put in place is a contradiction.In a statement, yesterday, the group said while it welcomes the initiative by the Federal Government to comply with the requirements of the NDDC Act by constituting the advisory committee, it, however, stated that the “decision in itself is a contradiction because it is illogical for an advisory committee to be appointed to advise the governing board when in actual fact there is none in existence.
Signed by Omare, the statement read: “If we may ask the Federal Government, especially the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, which governing board would the advisory committee advise in the absence of a substantive board of the NDDC?
“We are of the strong view that the proper thing that the Federal Government ought to do is to inaugurate the board of the NDDC before the constitution of the advisory committee to advise the board. In the absence of a substantive board, the decision to inaugurate the advisory committee is illogical and would not serve any useful purpose.
“Consequently, we call on the Federal Government to put on hold the planned inauguration of the Advisory Committee of the NDDC and inaugurate the board of the NDDC before inaugurating the advisory committee.”
In another statement yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State by its National Coordinator and National Secretary, Comrades Etifit Nkereuwem and Opuene Bubaraye, the Niger Delta Movement for Peace and Justice, a coalition of 20 civil society organisations (CSOs), also implored the president to jettison his planned inauguration of the advisory committee and inaugurate the governing board of the commission.
Their words: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the Ministry of Niger
Delta Affairs for the inauguration of Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) Advisory Committee by Mr. President. We strongly frown on the level of disrespect and disregard of the NDDC Act by the presidency. We make bold to say that Acts are to be obeyed or implemented in totality, particularly during a democratic rule.
“It could be recalled that Mr. President recently inaugurated the Interim Management Committee which is unknown to the NDDC Act, thereby violating Part 1, Section 2 and Part III, Section 11(2) which provided for the governing board and advisory committee respectively.
“Therefore we urge Mr. President to jettison the inauguration of the Advisory Committee since there is no Governing Board for the committee to advise as provided for in the Act. We view the breach of the fundamental law and disregard for the NDDC Act as worrisome and unacceptable in a democratic government.”
In yet another statement yesterday by the National Coordinator, Comrade Johnson Ebelo, the Niger Delta Progressive Front urged the governors in the oil-rich area not to back the composition of the advisory panel, which it described as “charade.”
It claimed that the Federal Government was trying to “use measures of hook and crook to legitimise an illegitimate interim management committee.”
The group described the attempt as “dubious and an intention to give an impression that it (government) is following the law when it is selectively applying it.”
Ebelo explained that “the government found it convenient to ignore the NDDC Act in respect of the inauguration of a substantive board but conveniently latched onto the Act to inaugurate the Monitoring and Advisory Committees as provided for in the Act.”
Ebelo maintained that the Act states “expressly that the two committees are meant to monitor and advise the board,” adding: “An illegal interim management is what is in place and not a substantive board.”
In his remarks, the national president of VATLAD, Comrade Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, said it was unfortunate that the Nigerian leader “succumbed to the demand made few days ago by PDP governors of the South- South that the Advisory Committee of NDDC be immediately constituted” in deference to Section 11 (2) of the NDDC Act.