Legal Experts Call for Amendment of NDDC Act to End Generated Controversies

Legal Experts Call for Amendment of NDDC Act to End Generated Controversies

Sunday Okobi

Legal experts have called for a proper amendment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Establishment Act “because of the controversies which the Amendment Act has generated.

They stated that it should be made public through the amended Act of the commission if the appointment into the NDDC should be strictly to the region, or whether people from the non-oil producing area should also be entitled to it (appointment).

This formed the basis of discussion at the recent retreat organised for members of the Directorate of Legal Services of the NDDC held in Lagos recently.

One of the keynote speakers, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), who presented the topic: ‘Repositioning Legal Services for Optimal Impact in The Public Sector’, said: “We want to also ensure performance is also enshrined in the Amendment Act, especially in the aspect of abandoned project. That’s what I meant by ensuring proper amendment of the NDDC Act.

“For abandoned project, there should be an amendment on the NDDC Act since there are now claims of other states producing oil for instance Anambra, Kogi, Lagos and others. Such amendment should be able to verify such status and decide whether to include or exclude them in the management board, and also, I anticipated that the amendment will take care of appointments into the board because the current law agree on rotation among the oil-producing states. There are states that are producing oil that have never emerged as the managing director of the NDDC. I mean those matters should be specified and not left to the issue of doubt.”

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria frowned at the scale of corruption in the commission, lamenting that nobody has been prosecuted or arrested for any abandoned project.

“And it is a fact that those abandoned projects number in their thousands. I gave an example of a community in Ilaje Local Government Area (Aiyetoro), Ondo State, where shoreline embankment project was awarded in billions of naira and paid. But nothing was done in the community, and it has been washed away. I believe the NDDC has been presently empowered by the National Assembly to perform on the mandate of the people of the Niger Delta area, to ensure that this present administration of the NDDC will abolish corruption and wastages, and prevent issues of abandoned projects, as well as collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ICPC to prosecute those who have collectively stolen our collective patrimony  and have not performed the task given the status of the personalities involved in the present NDDC,” the legal expert said.

Also, the Director of Legal Service of the NDDC, Dr. Stephen Ighomuaye, highlighted the importance of training and re-training of members of the legal unit of the commission, stating that it cannot be over-emphasised, as the Directorate of Legal Services of an organisation as big and pivotal as the NDDC being an interventionist agency is propelled for the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.

According to him, “And so, the current management acknowledge the need for training and re-training and approved for the staff of the directorate to be sequestered to come together and reposition themselves in accordance with the theme of today’s retreat which is: ‘Repositioning Legal Services for Optimal Performance in Its Functions’.

“From the delivery of the keynote address, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) was very clear on the importance of training and re-training, making adequate budgetary provisions of taking the job of a legal service because when you get things right from the legal perspective, almost every other thing falls in place. We believe that the problems of the Niger Delta region would be properly taken care of if legal services are efficiently positioned.”

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