President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate explaining the non-inauguration of the 15-man governing board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which the Senate approved last November.
The president, in a letter dated October 18, 2019, had sought the approval of the Senate for the board for the NDDC, which the upper chamber approved on November 5.
But at the resumption of Senate plenary yesterday after a six-week Christmas break, the president’s new letter dated December 23 and received on January 11, was read by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, wherein he said a new NDDC board would be constituted and sent to the National Assembly for confirmation.
According to the letter, the earlier board would be put on hold to allow the Interim Management Team carry out a forensic audit of the commission.
Buhari added that a new board would thereafter be constituted after the interim team, led by Mrs. Joy Nunieh, had concluded work on a forensic investigation of the NDDC.
The one-page letter reads: “I write to intimate the Senate of developments concerning the appointment of the board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“The Senate may wish to note that after the dissolution of the Board of the NDDC, an Interim Management Team was set up to manage the affairs of the Commission before a new board was composed and sent for Senate confirmation.
“The Senate is invited to note that while the process of composition and Senate confirmation of the appointment of the board was ongoing, I had directed that the forensic audit of the Commission be carried out, which is being overseen by the constituted Interim Management Team.
“Based on this, and in order to allow for uninterrupted process of the forensic investigation, the board appointment confirmed by the Senate has to be put on hold to allow the Interim Team continue to manage the Commission pending the outcome of the forensic audit.
“Thereafter, a new board of the Commission will be recomposed for confirmation by the Senate.”
The upper chamber on November 5, 2019, had confirmed 15 nominees for the NDDC board.
The confirmation of the 16th nominee, Dr. Joy Nunieh, was, however, declined by the upper chamber due to the nominee’s failure to appear before the Senate committee on Niger Delta Affairs, which earlier screened the nominees.
The confirmed nominees who were not inaugurated before the suspension of the board, were former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu (Chairman); Bernard Okumagba (Delta), Managing Director; Otobong Ndem (Akwa Ibom)-Executive Director, Projects; Maxwell Oko (Bayelsa)-Executive Director, Finance and Administration; Jones Erue (Delta); Victor Ekhator (Edo); Nwogu N Nwogu (Abia) and Theodore Allison (Bayelsa).
Others included Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom); Maurice Effiwat (Cross River); Olugbenga Edema (Ondo); Uchegbu Kyrian (Imo); Aisha Muhammed (North West); Shuaibu Zubairu (North East) and Abdullahu Bage (North Central).