Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A group, the Niger Delta Entrepreneurs Forum (NDEF) has kicked against the dissolution of the Professor Nelson Brambaifa-led board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and replacement with a new one.
In a statement by its coordinator, Comrade Kester Okele and Secretary, Engineer Ebipade Timi, the group said the move smacked of a larger plot to expose the presidency.
While noting that Section 4 of the Act establishing the NDDC is clear on the rotation of the chairmanship position of the commission in alphabetical order it queried how Edo was being gifted the chairmanship of the board after Cross River State took the last shot.
According to NDEF it is surprising that Part IV of the Act, Section 12 (1) which expounds that “a managing director and two executive directors who shall be indigenes of oil-producing areas starting with the member states of the commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in order of production ” was not respected in the composition of the new board.
It further questioned how a state such as Rivers which is amongst the first three highest producers of oil in Nigeria, playing host to two refineries and refining the highest amount of crude oil be left out in the appointment of the management committee of the NDDC.
The group also pointed out some loopholes in the procedure of the new appointments with the announcement by the permanent secretary, General Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation asking appointees to come with their updated CVs rather than the office of the president which should forward a letter to the Senate to approve and confirm such appointments.
NDEF stated that the previous set of appointments by the president in January was duly signed by the president’s spokesman with a directive for the NDDC to come under the supervision of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs rather than the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
While thanking the president for appointing two sons of the region to serve as ministers in the Ministry of Niger Delta, including the appointment of an SSA on Niger Delta Affairs to solve the challenges in the region, the group appealed to the presidency to rescind the composition of the NDDC board.