The house of representatives has called on federal government to comply with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) act and constitute the agency’s governing board.
This call was made on Thursday by the lower legislative chamber at its plenary session.
The house of representatives also urged the government to consider Ondo, Edo and Imo states in appointing members to the board.
The house passed the resolution after it adopted a motion sponsored by Kolade Akinjo from Ondo.
The development comes less than a week after Government Ekpemupolo, a Niger Delta activist better known as Tompolo, said he has agreed to allow the process of constituting the board till the end of June.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in 2019, ordered a forensic audit of NDDC’s operations, which uncovered allegations of mismanagement of funds.
Kemebradikumo Pondei, acting managing director of the commission at the time, was eventually sacked, and in December 2020, the president appointed Effiong Akwa as new head of the agency.
However, a new board is yet to be constituted for the commission, following the dissolution of the previous one in January 2020.
Many have criticised the action, saying the law establishing the commission does not provide for such an appointment.
While leading the debate on the motion, Akinjo said “great injustice has characterised the composition of the NDDC board”, including as it relates to the chairmanship position.
He argued that despite the provisions of sections 4 and 12 of the NDDC act, “the positions of the board chairman, managing director and the two executive directors are solely occupied by Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers and Cross River, leaving out Ondo, Imo and Edo states respectively”.
“This situation is not only a worrisome violation of the letters and spirit of the NDDC Act 2000 that established the commission, but a suppression of the statutory rights of the remaining member states of these positions,” he said.
“If urgent steps are not taken to reverse this disturbing trend, it will not only be an extensive discrimination against these remaining member states, but further engendering a discriminatory practice impeding the participation of these member states in managing the affairs of the commission formed to cater for them.”
The house mandated its committee on NDDC to ensure compliance after the motion was unanimously adopted.