The Nigerian Senate on Thursday said it would not recognize the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), headed by Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh risking face-off with president Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate had at the plenary when the consideration of the NDDC budget forwarded to it on Tuesday by president Buhari was brought up said it would only allow the 15-member Governing Board, whose nominations by President Muhammadu Buhari, were approved by the Red Chamber to defend the budget.
Making the case against the recognition of the Interim management Committee, the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) raising Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules reminded his colleagues that the management which the senate screened and confirmed are yet to resume duty. He said the Nunieh led Committee “is an illegal contraption that lacks the backing of law to defend the commission’s budget.
“Having regard to the fact that this Senate has confirmed members of the board of the NDDC and they are yet to resume office.
“I fear that we may run into a problem of delayed budget again since nobody will come to defend this budget. This Senate, having confirmed the board of the NDDC, will not countenance any illegal contraption coming to represent NDDC.
“To prevent a late budget for NDDC that is helping Nigeria on revenue and development of the region, it will be better for us to prevent this issue from coming.”
In his response, the Senate president,Ahmed Lawan, who sustained Abaribe’s point of order in his ruling said,
“We are receiving the budget of the NDDC for the year 2020 at the right time.
“This is the first time ever, and this is a good sign that we are operating on the same frequency with the executive arm of government; that we are in a hurry to deal with matters of the budget because it is an issue that will bring about development in the country.
“As far as we are concerned, this Senate knows that we have confirmed the request of Mr. President on the board membership of the NDDC, and we have communicated that.
“The next logical thing to do by law is for the appointments of the members of the board to take immediate effect. I believe that the executive arm of government will attend to that quickly so that we have the right people to defend the appropriation request of Mr. President.”
Lawan, after approval by Senators through voice votes for the budget to be forwarded to the Committee on NDDC, warned that only the approved board should be recognised for that purpose.
He said, “The Senate Committee on NDDC should ensure that only the 15-member Governing board forwarded to the Senate by Mr President, screened and approved by us , should be related with as far the budget of the agency is concerned and other official matters”.
Members of the NDDC Governing board recognised by the Senate are: Dr Pius Odubu from Edo State as Chairman; Bernard Okumagba from Delta as Managing Director; Engr. Otobong Ndem from Akwa Ibom State as Executive Director, Projects and Maxwell Oko from Bayelsa as Executive Director, Finance and Admin.
Others are: Prophet Jones Erue from Delta, member, Victor Ekhator from Edo, member, Nwogu Nwogu from Abia State, member, Theodore Allison from Bayelsa, member, Victor Antai from Akwa Ibom, member and Maurice Effiwatt from Cross River, member.
Other members of the board include: Olugbenga Edema from Ondo State, Uchegbu Kyrian from Imo State, Aisha Murtala Muhammed from Kano State, Shuaibu Ardo Zubairu from Adamawa State and Ambassador Abdullahi Bage from Nasarawa State.