A coalition of youth associations in the nine states that make up Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the Governing Board of the Commission, whose members had been screened and confirmed by the Senate, following the completion of the forensic audit.
In a statement by Tamunopriye Alaibo, national president; Okon Udo Archibong, general secretary and Uche Onyema, publicity secretary, the coalition observed that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio. confirmed on Monday that the forensic audit of the NDDC had been concluded and ready to be submitted to President Buhari.
It said with the completion of the audit, President Buhari should inaugurate the NDDC Governing Board ‘to ensure accountability, equitable representation and rapid development of the NDDC states.
The coalition meander President Buhari that while receiving the Ijaw National Congress at the State House in Abuja, in June, he promised that the NDDC Board would be inaugurated as soon as the forensic audit report was submitted.
According to the group, President Buhari had said: ‘Based on the mismanagement that had previously bedevilled 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.’
It said that as Niger Delta governors, ethnic nationalities, statesmen and civil society organisations have demanded, it supports the inauguration of the Governing Board, in compliance with the NDDC Act and to ensure full representation of the constituent states.
‘We wish to caution that any further delay in inaugurating the Board of NDDC will unnecessarily aggravate the heightened tension in the entire Niger Delta region, which unfortunately is inimical to the peace so far enjoyed in the region which lays the golden eggs that sustain the nation’s economy,” it said.
The group called on President Buhari to follow through on his promise and inaugurate the Board he nominated in 2019, which was confirmed by the Senate.
‘Since the inauguration of the Board was put on hold in November 2019, the NDDC has been run by Interim Managements and a sole administrator who have been utilising the funds of the Commission without any significant development projects commissioned in the constituent states in the last two years. Our people have suffered untold neglect from the absence of representation in management. The NDDC Act provides for a Board that has membership from all the nine constituent states, which is what Mr President followed in nominating the Board now awaiting inauguration,’ it said.
The coalition said Niger Delta people can no longer endure a prolonged wait before the Board takes over ‘as our region has been yearning for the impact of the NDDC these past years.
‘We, therefore, urge Mr President to speedily inaugurate the NDDC Board to ensure fair representation of the nine constituent states, accountability in the utilisation of the NDDC funds, checks and balances and due process in the Commission in compliance with the NDDC Act.’