Comply with Court Judgement, Constitute NDDC Board Now, Group Urges Malami

Sylvester Idowu

A Niger Delta group, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD), has advised the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to immediately comply with the judgement of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, ordering him to constitute the Governing board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The group maintained that just as he promptly reacted to a ruling on 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 by a Federal High Court in Umuahia, the Minister of Justice should also respond immediately to the Yenagoa order for the immediate constitution of the NDDC board.

VATLAD, in a statement signed by its National President, Mr. Igbini Odafe Emmanuel explained: “Like 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022, AGF Abubakar Malami must immediately obey the court’s order to inaugurate the Governing Board of NDDC, among other orders.

“We indeed received with very sincere and full gratitude, the patriotic decision of Hon. Justice Isa Dashen of the Federal High Court, sitting in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, ordering the

Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to immediately allow the inauguration of the substantive Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which was since year 2019 confirmed by the Nigerian Senate,” it stated.

The group recalled that the list of the proposed board of NDDC was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in line with provisions of the NDDC Act 2000, as amended, but it was unjustifiably put on hold allegedly to allow for the forensic auditing of the Commission, an exercise that has since been concluded and the Report submitted to the president through the AGF.

VATLAD therefore called on and demanded that the Minister of Justice should immediately and unconditionally carry out the orders of the Federal High Court, the same way he speedily carried out the orders given by the Federal High Court, Umuahia to delete Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 which Malami has consistently and publicly demanded of the Nigerian Senate to do.

“We hasten to remind the Minister of Justice that the Nigerian Senate has on many occasions directed the this Board be immediately inaugurated to serve the people of the Niger Delta region.

“The AGF must obey and immediately carry out this Order of the Federal High Court, Yenegoa, to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that he is not the single person who has been the obstruction to the inauguration of this substantive Board of NDDC since year 2019,” it added.

The group lamented that the present situation where a sole administrator was running the affairs of NDDC, even though unconstitutional, had allegedly given room to some elites in the region to turn the commission into their automatic teller machine (ATM).

“We want to hasten to remind President Buhari of our previous Advice to him and APC that they must be mindful of being misled to violate the clear position of the NDDC Act which stipulates that only the Nigerian Senate screened and confirmed Board is to manage and administer the NDDC. Nobody else under any guise.

“There is no doubt that since 2019 that the NDDC has been placed under the authority of unlawful and illegal one-man sole administrator, the lives of the people of the Niger Delta Region have regrettably continued to witnessed Hopelessness due to sudden absence of NDDC’s projects and supports in the region.

“All they are forced to do daily is sit back and watch on television or read in the newspapers, the commissioning of massive projects like Dangote Fertilizer Complex, Dangote Refinery, pyramids of rice and maize, mega rail stations and rail lines, modern airports, kilometers of bridges and dual carriage roads, all taking place in other non-oil producing states of Nigeria”, it added.

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