The National President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Barrister Eric Omare has urged the National Assembly to disregard any budget approval request from NDDC submitted by the Interim Management Committee inaugurated by Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Godswill Akpabio, because under Section 18 of the NDDC Act of 2000 only the substantive Board can submit a budget.
Act Number 6 of 2000 which set up the NDDC states that, “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.”
Barrister Omare who said this in a nationally broadcast interview on Arise TV, maintained that the problem with NDDC since its inception is with adherence to the law establishing NDDC.
According to him, “instead of strictly complying with the law establishing NDDC, emphasis is placed on political patronage, in other words, the NDDC is being used as a platform to patronize the party in power instead of using it as a platform to develop the Niger Delta region.”
The IYC President regretted that with the Senate confirmation of a substantive Board for NDDC stakeholders thought that it will bring a level of sanity and stability to the Commission but unfortunately and to their surprise, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio set up an Interim Management Committee that is not contemplated by the NDDC establishment Act because under the Act there is no room for an interim management committee in the first place.
He further explained that the only caveat for an interim management has to be borne out of necessity, noting that it does not exist in the present circumstance 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.
Barrister Omare stated 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 the clearance “we still have a contraption called an interim management committee presiding over the NDDC in flagrant violation of the law establishing the NDDC.”