The Senate on Wednesday, resolved to investigate the alleged illegal renewal of tenure of the present Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
It has, therefore, referred the matter to the Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, to liaise with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha.
The development was sequel to a motion on “the Illegal Extension of the Tenure of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), at the plenary.
The sponsor of the motion, Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), said the commission was established to tackle developmental issues affecting the Niger Delta.
“It was in response to the age-long agitation of the people of the Niger Delta which snowballed into militancy and disrupted oil production and affected our national economic interest that the commission was established.”
He noted that the commission consisted of a board made up of members drawn from: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
“Section 4 of the Act states that the office of the Chairman shall rotate amongst member states of the commission in alphabetical order.
“The Chairmanship of the NDDC started with Abia and has rotated in accordance with the Act up to Cross-River now,” he said.
Paulker said the board then was headed by Sen. Victor Egba, who was appointed by the President Muhammadu Buhari to replace Sen. Bassey Henshaw.
“Section 5 (3) of the Act dictates that the board, headed by Egba, serves out the remainder of the term of the board chaired by Henshaw will terminate in Dec. 2017.
“Contrary to the clear provisions of Section 5 (3) of the NDDC Act, the tenure of the present board of the commission has been illegally extended to four years,’’ he said.
The Senator alleged that act was done by the immediate past Acting SGF Habiba Lawal.
Paulker also expressed concern that contraventions of the NDDC Act portend grave danger to the relative peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta.
Also contributing, Senate Leader, Sen. Ahmed Lawan said: “In support of this motion, yesterday I was with the SGF and others, trying to find out what happened.
“I appeal to all of us that since we have a new SGF who wants to work with us
‘’In the spirit of this season and the interest shown by the SGF that he wants to deal with this issue.
“I advise and move that we ask our committee on Niger Delta Affairs to liaise with the office of the SGF to look into the real issues so that we deal with it.”
President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki said: “In the spirit of our relationship that we are not here to just always antagonise the executive, the days of balderdash are over.
“We have a new SGF and we must also show that. Let this matter be referred to the Committee on Niger Delta Affairs and let it take it up with the SGF.”
A Senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with the National Assembly Correspondents, commended the matured handling of the motion by the Senate leadership.
He said the development underscored the determination of the Senate to support the core mandate of the NDDC as an interventionist agency. (NAN)