President Muhammadu Buhari says the interim management team of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will remain until the forensic audit of the agency’s operations is completed.
On November 5, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the current management of the commission is void after the confirmation of the appointment of members of the agency’s board.
He asked the president to inaugurate the board immediately.
An interim committee set up by Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta Affairs, currently manages the commission. The management comprises Joi Nunieh, acting managing director; Ibanga Bassey, acting executive director, finance and administration, and Cairo Ojougboh, acting executive director, projects.
The minister had said the committee will run the NDDC for six months and oversee the forensic audit of the agency.
But the senate has refused to recognise Akpabio’s interim management team.
”With the completion of this process now (confirmation), I am sure that any other structure that exists now (in NDDC) is vitiated,” Lawan said while commenting on the confirmation of the nominees to the board of the NDDC.
”I don’t think we have anything to worry about because this is one thing that is clearly established by law.”
On November 28, the upper legislative chamber barred members of the interim management from defending the 2020 budget of the commission. It insisted that it would only deal with members of the board it approved.
But on Thursday, in a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, the president said the interim committee will be in place until the end of the forensic audit.
“The President has also directed that the Interim Management Team of the NDDC shall be in place till the forensic is completed, and that the supervision of the Commission shall remain under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs,” the statement read.
The president also said the board of the commission, recently confirmed by the senate, will be recomposed and inaugurated at the end of the forensic audit –effectively sacking the Pius Odubu-led board.
Buhari had ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the commission from 2001 to 2019 owing to allegations of corruption against it.
The president had expressed his dissatisfaction with the agency, saying the current state of the Niger Delta cannot justify the huge resources that have been allocated to the NDDC.