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Traditional heads seek immediate dissolution of NDDC’s interim management committee

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The Association of Rural Chiefs for Peace and Development has called for the immediate dissolution of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), alleging that the panel was raised in contravention of the extant law setting up the interventionist agency by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.

In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister, the Senate President and security agencies and made available yesterday to The Guardian in Yenagoa, the chiefs insisted that that they were unaware of a provision in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that delegates powers to any ministry to carry out the commission’s responsibilities on an interim basis.

Signed by its chairman, Nengi James-Eriworio, the body said the interim committee was not “a legal entity and cannot be recognised by law.”

The letter reads in part: “The act establishing the NDDC did not contemplate the setting up of an interim management committee to take over the management of the commission, thus it is an aberration and illegality for an interim committee to oversee the affairs of the commission.

“Consequently, the tenure of the last board has lapsed by effluxion of time. It is expedient upon Your Excellency to appoint and swear in a new board pursuant to the clear, sacrosanct and unambiguous provision of the NDDC Act.

“We make bold to say that the interim management committee is not a legal entity and the same is not recognised by law. There is no confusion in the NDDC that should warrant the setting up of an interim management committee.

“As persons interested in the development of the Niger Delta region, if this illegality is not corrected immediately, we shall not hesitate to commence public interest litigation for a redress.”

In a similar vein, a coalition of civil society groups under the aegis of Guardians of Democracy and Development yesterday applauded the president for ordering the forensic audit of the financial accruals and expenditure of the agency.

The group’s National Convener, Comrade Solomon Adodo, who briefed reporters in Abuja, sought support for the exercise.

He also lauded Akpabio for backing the move and raising the interim committee to steer the affairs of the commission for sustained development of the oil-rich region, urging understanding for the team to creditably discharge its duties without distractions.

The group described the effort as the “biggest singular blow being dealt the monster of corruption by the current government on account of the fact that trillions of naira have either been misappropriated or stolen from the NDDC.”


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