*Vows to discontinue agency 2020 budget
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday urged the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio to withdraw the appointment and the activities of the three-man Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
This was just as the House urged the two Chambers to discontinue the 2020 Appropriation and Budget process of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs until the Minister complies to the first resolution.
The Green Chamber further mandated the House Committees on NDDC and Legislative Compliance to implement the resolutions.
The resolutions of the House followed a motion of urgent public importance on the need to stop the illegality in the Niger Delta Development Commission moved by Nicholas Ossai.
Ossai while presenting the motion noted that one of the core mandates for the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is the implementation of the set rules and regulations, projects and programmes for the sustainable development of the Niger-Delta areas.
According to him, the law establishing the Commission provides in section 8 of NDDC Act that, its management and administrative instructive shall be the responsibility of the its Governing Board.
“Further notes that the Governing Board of the Commission includes the Chairman, the Managing Director, the Executive Directors and the other members with power to manage and supervise the affairs of the Commission and make rules and regulations for effective functioning of the Commission.
“Aware that in the Month of October. 2019, Mr. President ordered for a forensic audit of the operations and activities of NDDC from 2001 to 2019, Which is in line with what the House of Representatives has done.
“Also aware that in the later part of October 2019, precisely on the 29th, Mr. President through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation announced the appointment of 15 new NDDC Board Members, whose names were thereafter sent to the Senate for confirmation.
“Disturbed that, in the evening of same 29th October, 2019 and to the utter consternation of all Nigerians, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, brazenly announced in channels Television the sacking of the Acting Managing Director of NDDC and the appointments of a three-man NDDC Interim Management Committee, which he directed to manage and run the affairs of NDDC for the next six months.
“Further aware that, shortly after the appointment of the three-man Interim Management Committee, the Senate confirmed the 15 NDDC Board Members sent to it by Mr. President in fulfillment of NDDC Act.
“Worried that, the speed and curiosity with which the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs hurriedly set up a three-man Interim Management Committee is stunning and suspicious.
“Acknowledges the fact that in practice, any existing vacancy in the office of the Managing Director of NDDC is usually filled temporary by the highest director in the order of seniority and ranking,
“Suffice to say that by the confirmation of the NDDC Governing Board Members by the Senate, the three-man Interim Management Committee of the NDDC recently set up by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs becomes vitiated, null and void and of no legal effect”.
The motion was unanimously adopted when put to voice vote by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila in whose ruling referred the motion the House Committee on NDDC.