NDDC: Itsekiri Leader Warns against Opposition to Interim Committee

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Sunday Okobi

Rights activist and prominent Itsekiri leader, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, has warned against any opposition to the Interim Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) inaugurated by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

Lori-Ogbebor at a press conference held in Lagos yesterday noted that the setting up of the panel was in order, adding that it should be allowed to supervise the Commission ahead of the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister had inaugurated the three-man committee to oversee the operations of the NDDC, where he (Akpabio) added that the panel would create an “enabling environment for the audit.’’

While Mr. Gbene Joi was made the acting Managing Director of the committee, Cairo Ojougboh and Ibanga Bassey emerged as Executive Directors of Projects and Finance respectively.

Supporting the development, the veteran journalist, described the opposition against the interim committee as self-serving.

According to her, “On the interim committee, I want to thank Akpabio for inaugurating it. This is what should be done. He has saved the president the embarrassment arising from his failure to do what he promised.

“The committee would allow Buhari to do things properly ashe promised. There is no way the embarrassing nomination and confirmation of the NDDC nominees can be morally justified. The Senate is a major beacon in a democratic setting but they supported illegality by confirming the nominees. By doing so, the Senate placed the judiciary in a difficult position. Why did the Senate hurriedly confirm them when the president travelled out of the country? Why was the list of the nominees sent when the president left the country?”

 “The confirmation is against what Buhari promised to rectify. The Senate acted hurriedly as if Nigeria was going to stop existing. The Act establishing the NDDC is clear and everybody acknowledged that fact. President Buhari accepted this fact two weeks ago when he ordered a probe of the NDDC from 2001-2019.”

The Igba of Warri added: “President Buhari told the world that he would abide by the law that created NDDC after which he left for Saudi Arabia. He did not tell Nigerians the auditing firm that would carry out the probe. Suddenly, the names of nominees were sent to the Senate for confirmation. The Senate confirmed the nominees ignoring the fact that their nomination is being challenged in court.’’