Niger Delta Elders Berate NDDC Boss, Adviser for Allegedly Supporting Its Operation Without Board

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo

The controversy surrounding the running of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with a sole administrator has continued to rage with a group under the aegis of the Niger Delta Elders Forum (NDEF) coming hard on those allegedly supporting it operating without a board.

The group in a statement signed by its National President, Chief Tonye Ogbogbula specifically chided the sole administrator of NDDC, Effiiong Akwa and his Special Adviser, Udengs Eradiri for allegedly claiming that “the existing Act establishing the NDDC is obsolete.”

According to the NDEF, such disregard to the extant law was, “most ludicrous affront on the entire Niger Delta region, NDDC, and the subsisting law governing the administration of NDDC.”

The elders stated that the, “errant temerity” displayed by Eradiri was a clear and dangerous signal that, “the present administration is unwilling to comply with the present provisions of the extant law and will continue to operate with an illegal sole administrator ship.”

While frowning at the NDDC adviser’s insistence that the administrator ship would be sustained, “in breach of the existing NDDC Act until it is amended by the federal government,” NDEF said such position was at variance with what Niger Deltans want.

Therefore, the group described, “Eradiri’s latest outburst as an unwarranted provocation of no mean proportion on the region, an embarrassment to President Buhari’s Government that prides itself on adherence to rule of law.”

The group said it could not understand what emboldened a federal government appointee (Eradiri), “to utter reckless statement that unabashedly rubbishes our nation’s subsisting law – the NDDC Act,” knowing that he is occupying his office “in violation of the NDDC Act”

On the forensic report which was submitted to President Buhari on September 2, 2021, NDEF expressed dismay that Eradiri “flippantly” commented on it, insinuating that “the FG wants to amend the NDDC Act before inaugurating the Board of the NDDC” when it should abide by the provisions of the extant law.

According to the group, by his unguarded comments, Eradiri also “brazenly contradicted and made a mockery of President Buhari, who unequivocally, on June 24, 2021 promised to inaugurate the substantive board of NDDC upon receipt of the forensic audit report. The report has been on his table since September 2, 2021.”

The president had made the promise when he received in audience the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) in Aso Rock, Abuja during which he had lamented, “the mismanagement that had previously bedeviled the NDDC,” hence the need for a forensic audit.

With no NDDC board yet in place, NDEF aligned with the Ijaw National Congress (INC) which had already been compelled to describe the delay in the inauguration of the Board as a, “clear betrayal of trust and display of state insensitivity on the Ijaw nation and Niger Delta region.”

 Similarly the Niger Delta United Congress (NDUC) supported the position of INC, saying that it, “represents the collective position of Niger Deltans, not the subterfuge from a puppet and beneficiary of the current illegality in NDDC who unabashedly sings the deleterious tunes of his paymasters to suppress Niger Deltans and deprive them of the benefits accruing from their God-given natural resources.”

 The Elders’ Forum therefore wondered where the NDDC adviser derived his authority and urged the federal government to call Eradiri to order, saying he has no authority to be making, “outlandish statements that have become huge embarrassment to President Buhari and the federal government.”

“What the NDDC Act provides is that the Board and Management (Managing Director and two Executive Directors) of the NDDC at any point in time should follow the provisions of the law which states that the Board and management is to be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

“In effect, the current Sole Administrator (Effiong Akwa), or his Special Adviser (Udengs Eradiri) are not recognised by the law setting up NDDC, the NDDC Act, and therefore lack the authority, and even moral standing to begin to pontificate on the appropriateness or otherwise of a subsisting law which he and his master currently violate,” the Niger Delta Elders said.

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