South East South South Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN), an advocacy group for the advancement of the two regions, has expressed deep concern over the inability and neglect of the Federal Government of Nigeria to put in place the laid down statutory mechanisms for the smooth running of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In a statement issued by its President, Hannibal Egbe Uwaifo Esq., and Publicity Secretary, Collins Steve Ugwu, SESSPN noted that “while we thank the National Assembly for performing their Constitutional role of screening and approving nominees for the Board of the Organization, the Association is at a loss why the Board which is the Governing Authority of the Commission is yet to be inaugurated.”
The group, which has remained a resilient vehicle for synergy amongst all layers of governance and service structures in the two geopolitical zones, noted with dismay that “this inaction on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs Chief Godswill Akpabio is robbing the people of the Niger Delta region of the little gain from years of advocacy and struggle for the development of the region that produces the bulk of the revenue on which the Nigerian nation thrives.”
According to SESSPN, which was founded many years ago to pursue a consistent policy articulation for the development of the two regions, “while the need to ensure a transparent and orderly administration may have necessitated the intervention of the Federal Government, the ensuing drama and twists that followed, hardly justifies the continued absence of a Constituted Board which derives its powers from our statute books.”
According to SESSP, “it is our opinion that the contrived interim Boards or Sole Administratorship, whatever name called, does not meet the Legal requirements of Law and is unable to address the developmental needs of the Region.”
The group has therefore demanded, “as a matter of clear urgency, that the Supervising Minister of the Commission, Hon. Godswill Akpabio prove he is truly part of the solution by getting President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently inaugurate the NDDC Board without further delay and open a new chapter in the Federal Government’s avowed quest to emancipate the peoples of the Niger Delta region.”
President Buhari had on June 24, while receiving a delegation of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), promised that he would inaugurate the already screened and confirmed board of the NDDC on conclusion and receipt of the report of the Forensic Audit.