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Reps summon CBN gov, NDDC boss over abandoned projects

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From left: Members, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on NDDC, Rep. Robert Tyough; Rep. Kolade Akinjo; Rep. Yusuf Yakubu; and the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, during the Public Hearing on abandon projects in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from 2000 till date, at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Tuesday (10/9/19).<br />05886//10/9/2019/Hogan Bassey/NAN

The House of Representatives ad hoc committee probing abandoned projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) worth N2 trillion yesterday summoned Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele; Acting Chairman of NDDC, Robert Tyough; and the directors to appear before it on Tuesday next week.

The committee headed by Nicholas Ossai also invited former Minister of the Niger Delta and Managing Director of NDDC through a directive during a public hearing on abandoned projects in the NDDC from 2000, the cost, period of the award, state of completion and constraints as it affects the NDDC.

Ossai said the directive was due to the neglect of invite the Ad-Hoc Committee sent to the aforementioned, adding: “We will not tolerate this. The NDDC is not above the National Assembly. Section 89 of the constitution states that the National Assembly can procure information from any person.

“And since they refuse to appear, we will invoke sub-section 1 (A, B &C) of the country’s constitution, which entails summoning persons involved in the probe.”

Shortly after declaring open the hearing by Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, a member of the committee, Yusuf Buba raised a point of order, notifying the panel of the absence of “critical stakeholders from who it needed information and expressed worries that the committee could do little or nothing without them.”

Besides, the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Akwagaga Enyia, has expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of work on the commission’s permanent office at its headquarters in Port Harcourt.

A statement issued by the commission’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, said that Enyia made the disclosure during the inspection of the 13-floor building project.

It quoted Enyia as saying that the commission was targeting 80 per cent completion in December, with workers moving into the facility on June 2020.

She said: “I am not impressed with what I saw today as well as the level of work done after all these years.”

Meanwhile, a former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Nduese Essien, has said that the appointments made by the Presidency into the board of NDDC are in line with the extant law establishing the agency and should not cause any disagreement in the region.

Essien, who was part of the team that drafted the NDDC Act, said in Abuja yesterday that the confusion, claims, and counterclaims of ownership of the key posts in the agency were either borne out of mischief or ignorance or both and were unnecessary since the right thing had been done by the government.

He drew attention to the fact that under the law establishing the commission, the post of the chairman is to rotate among the nine member-states in alphabetical order starting with Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and now the turn of Delta State.

“But as would be seen, the post of the Managing Director also falls for Delta State at the same time with that of the Chairman. The positions of the Managing Director and those of the Executive Directors of Finance and Administration and Projects rotate among the major oil-producing states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers states according to the quantum of oil produced.

“The rotation of the post of the MD started with Delta State followed by Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom State.”

It should now be the turn of Delta State in starting the rotation again among the major oil-producing states. But the point is that both the posts of the MD and the Chairman have fallen simultaneously on Delta at this time.

“And, for the purpose of fairness and equity as well as to create checks and balances in the system, it would be inappropriate to concentrate the two key positions simultaneously on the state. This explains why the chairmanship has been moved to the next state in alphabetical order, which is Edo while Delta keeps the Managing Director.

“Subsequently, Delta will still take its chairmanship position while the MD moves to Bayelsa State. Apart from the chairman, the posts of MD, Executive Directors for Finance and Projects, as well as commissioners, are limited to persons from oil-producing areas of the states under the law,” Essien said among others.

He, therefore, urged the National Assembly to set in motion the necessary machinery to amend the NDDC Act to domicile the supervision of the NDDC in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and to ensure that only core professionals are appointed in place of politicians to run the affairs of the NDDC.


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