A civil advocacy movement, Niger Delta Progressive Network (NDPN) has joined the numerous calls by stakeholders on President Muhammadu Buhari to honour his words and inaugurate the Niger Delta Development commission (NDDC) board that was screened and confirmed by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 5th of November, 2019.
Disclosing this in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Kaniye Amakiri and National Secretary, Asuquo Inyang, on behalf of the group, they reminded Mr. President that on the 24th of June 2021, while receiving the leadership of Ijaw National Congress (INC), he promised in very clear terms that he would inaugurate the already screened and confirmed board of the NDDC on conclusion and receipt of the report of the Forensic Auditors.
Recall that the umbrella body of the Ijaw nation, worldwide, Ijaw National Congress (INC) recently also cautioned that “any further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC board is a clear betrayal of trust and display of State insensitivity on ljaw nation and Niger Delta region.”
The INC call followed the promise of President Buhari on the 24th day of June 2021, while receiving the Ijaw National Congress at the State House in Abuja, wherein President Buhari said that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted.
The President said: “Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedeviled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021. I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board will be inaugurated.”
The group reminded President Buhari that the Federal Government also reiterated its position to inaugurate the Senate-confirmed Board immediately after the conclusion of the forensic audit during the inaugural ceremony of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC in 2019.
Niger Delta Progressive Network therefore urged President Buhari to live up to this promise and inaugurate the board without further delay now that the Forensic Audit has been concluded and thereby put to shame those who are in doubt of his sincerity and commitment to keep to his words
Said the group, “Finally, we wish to remind Mr. President that with the receipt of the report of the forensic audit, inaugurating the board will mark a new beginning not only for the commission but also for the people of the Niger Delta.”
NDPN also stated that it aligns its members with the calls, demands and peaceful agitations of youths, men and women, political and traditional leaders and civil society organisations in the Niger Delta that the inauguration of the NDDC Board will promote and sustain peace, equity and fairness, transparency and accountability, good governance and rapid development and transformation of the Niger Delta Region, and douse the tension of militancy as well as curtail the menace of insecurity in the region.
NDPN noted that while the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has been allowed to function with its duly constituted Board in place in line with its NEDC Act thereby ensuring proper Corporate Governance, accountability, checks and balances and fair representation of its Constituent states, the NDDC on the other hand has been run arbitrarily in the last 2 years by Interim committees/sole administrator in breach of the NDDC Act even after President Buhari had appointed a Board for the NDDC which was duly confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on November 5, 2019, but was asked to be on standby for inauguration after the forensic audit.
The group therefore urged the President to now comply with the NDDC Act and fulfill his promise by inaugurating the Governing Board of the Commission to ensure accountability, checks and balances, probity and equitable representation of the nine constituent states of the Niger Delta Region.