By Daniel Dafe
The Onajite Efedede-led Female Youth Wing of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Worldwide (Emete’ Urhobo), has rejected the interim management committee constituted by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, to coordinate the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), awaiting the screening of the board members by the Senate.
In a statement made available to Oasis Magazine (OM), Emete’ Urhobo, described the actions of the minister as an undue interference in the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Onajite Efedede recalled that President Buhari through the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation on Tuesday August, 2019 announced the appointment of the Board of NDDC with Chief Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director and Chief Odubu as Chairman subject to senate clearance.
She added: “On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the names of the newly appointed board members were forwarded to the Senate for clearance and the Senate President Ahmed Lawal directed the Senate Committee on NDDC led by Senator Peter Nwaboshi (Delta North) to do the screening within one week.
“It came as a shock to host in the Niger Delta when we heard that Chief Akpabio announced the appointment of a three man NDDC interim management committee led by one Mrs. Joy Ghene Nuieh as Acting Managing Director.
“We completely reject the interim management committee set up by Chief Akpabio because it is not in the interest of the NDDC and the Niger Delta region to set up such a committee when the Senate has begun the screening and promised to complete the exercise within seven days.
“In an interview on Channels TV, Akpabio said that the interim management committee would stay in office until the senate approval of the new board and also said that the committee would stay until the completion of forensic audit order by President Buhari.
“Our question now is what exactly is Chief Akpabio’s intention in setting up the interim management committee? How can an interim management committee be set up when within a week time, the Senate would have cleared the board members ready for inauguration?
“What would the interim management committee achieve for the Niger Delta region within one week period of their stay in office? Why is there so much instability in the NDDC under the Buhari’s presidency, when the North East Development Commission with similar mandate is focused and delivering on its mandate?”
Continuing, Emete called for the reversion of the order granting the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs supervisory powers of the NDDC.
“We had initially thought that it was the right decision, but Akpabio’s conduct so far shows that the NDDC under the Niger Delta Ministry would not be able to achieve its statutory responsibilities. The supervision of the NDDC should be returned back to the Presidency as it was before now,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Interim Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr. Joi Nunieh, has given the assurance that there would not be compromise in the forensic audit of the agency.
Nunieh, who took over from erstwhile Acting Managing Director, Dr. Akwagaga Enyia, at the organisation’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, said the commission, which the governors of the Niger Delta states have accused of neglecting the oil-producing communities, would henceforth impact on all rural areas across the region.