The Initiative for Leadership And Economic Watch in Nigeria has said it has uncovered a clandestine plot by some politicians in the Niger Delta to further impoverish the people of the region for their own selfish interest.
â€œDisgruntled individuals and treasury looters are sponsoring smear campaign against the leadership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to destabilise the region, said the group in a statement signed by Ambassador Agbonkpolor F. Splendour, Executive Director.
It noted that these individuals served no other purpose than to achieve such inglorious aim.
â€œWe wish to alert the Niger- Delta people and the entire Nigerian public to an evil plot by enemies of the region working to rubbish the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari governmentâ€™s developmental agenda for the region.
â€œThe design consists of a vicious smear campaign against the chairman of the NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, the Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, in form of newspaper adverts/articles and sponsored television documentary dripping of lies and slander as well as intimidation and sponsored demonstrations.
â€œWe are aware that some media organisations, mindful of the laughable and libelous contents, had responsibly rejected the said adverts/documentaries in spite of the huge money offered them in dollars.
â€œThey believe that by sponsoring targeted attacks in the media to discredit the NDDC leadership and trigger chaos, they will realise their ambition of dipping their hands into the commissionâ€™s treasury.
The group accused a former governor of Bayelsa State and minister in current administration of conniving with some leaders in the region to work against the Buhari administrationâ€™s development agenda in the region.
Contrary to reports that the present board of the NDDC got an illegal extension, the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), has denied any tenure elongation for the board members as alleged.
In the letter titled: â€˜Re: Clarification on the tenure of the governing board of NDDCâ€™, and sighted by journalists declared that the Ndoma- Egba headed board is not a continuation of the dissolved one headed by Bassey Henshaw.
The letter states: â€œSection 5(2) of the act refers to a situation where a vacancy occurs as a result of any of the provisions of section 5(1) of the act as opposed to when the entire board is dissolved . In this case, the previous board was dissolved and its tenure extinguished.
â€œDissolution of the board cannot be categorised as a vacancy under the act. Dissolution signifies total extinguishment of the board, it simply ceases to exist and there cannot be any remainder of any term which a successor is expected to complete.
â€œThere has to be a fresh composition of the board for a fresh term of four years. Therefore the letters of appointment stating that they were to complete the remainder of the tenure of the previous board is of no effect as the words n a letter cannot override the express provisions of an actâ€.
Furthermore, subject to the provisions of section 4 of the establishment act, a member of the board, other than an ex-officio member, shall hold office for a term of four years at the first instance and may be re-apointed for a further term of four years and no more.
The group advised the former governor and a serving minister of state in the present Buhari cabinet to work together with the NDDC to develop the region.