A Niger Delta group, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD), has condemned the desire of South-South governors to control the affairs of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group described as untrue governors’ claim that their demand for control is borne out of concerned about the rot in the NDDC.
In a statement by Comrade Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, national president, the group
reminded South South governors that their continued failure to utlilise oil derivation funds and other funds acruing to their states sparked the agitation for the establishment of NDDC, which “will operate independently and without direct or indirect interference or control by our state governors or their agents.”
It described as insulting threat by South South governors over NDDC, querying: “Who gave them this mandate, where and when?”
The group reminded the governor that no single person owns any state of South-South or Nigeria, and therefore no governor can stop NDDC activities.
“No state governor has the constitutional power to stop any Federal Government agency from entering any state of Nigeria for the purpose of pursuing and ensuring the development of the dtate,” it said.
VATLAD said while it agrees that there have sadly been massive fraud in NDDC in the past 20 years, “the story is not any different in our states under our governors. The mindless looting of funds acruing to our region by many South-South governors is more disheartening than that perpetrated in NDDC.
It said the threat issued by the governors exposes their “lack of understanding of and total disregard to the express provisions of 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, stating clearly the principle of separation of powers of the three tiers of government.”
The group challenge South South governors to “publish details of how they have so far spent the trillions of naira they have received on our behalf from the Federation Account before they will have the moral authority to even attempt to exercise their advisory privilege on operations of NDDC in our region.
“We are once more vehemently opposed to attempt by our governors to interfere with the independence of NDDC. NDDC is a creation of an Act of the National Assembly to be an independent Federal Government interventionist agency to help give hope to our people and region. No governor should be allowed to interfer or obstruct its operations in any part of our region.”