Massive protest rocked the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on today. Protesters took to the streets with placards, dancing and singing solidarity songs.
They are protesting the transfer of power to the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Mene Derek by Nsima Udo Ekere, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom State and the Managing Director and Chief Executive officer.
The protest was organized by a coalition of groups, including Niger Delta Front, South-South Youths and other organizations.
They expressed disappointment that Ekere and his backers only seem to be interested in perpetuating themselves in power rather than the development of the region.
“The action is capable of jeopardizing development of the region”.
Leader of the Niger Delta Front, Chief John Harry, who addressed journalists in Port Harcourt, said the leaders and youths decided on the protest to stop the handing over, plan to extend the tenure of the current board and abuse of office.
He called on the National Assembly to wield the big stick to stop the crisis in the commission by dissolving the NDDC board.
He also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use his good office and leadership position to maintain peace in the region by urgently appointing a sole administrator to oversee the management of the commission.
“The handing over is unacceptable. It is illegal.Cross River and Akwa Ibom states have completed their 4 years term each as Chairman and Managing Director of the commission” Chief Harry said.
He pointed out that the present board was officially appointed on the 4th of November, 2016 to complete the remainder of term of the previous board in line with the provisions of the NDDC Act.
The present NDDC board tenure of Ndoma Egba, Ndoma Egba and others elapsed on October 31, 2018 in line with the terms of their appointment and the law establishing NDDC, which clearly stated that they were to complete their respective state’s tenures.
Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the board, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of office of his predecessor.
There shall be for the commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the commission with the highest production quantum oil and shall rotate amongst member states in order of production
The NDDC ACT 2000 provides for the rotation of the commission’s leadership amongst the nine member states. The positions of Managing Director, Executive Director (Projects) and Executive Director (Finance) also follow the rotational policy under Part 4, Section 12 of the NDDC ACT. He also urged President Buhari to implement the NDDC ACT.
In what seems a direct responds to the protest, President Mohammadu Buhari approved the appointment of an acting Managing Director for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). He is Professor Nelson Braimbraifa.
The President, following a Federal Executive Council (FEC) resolution, has equally vested the supervisory role of the commission in the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, as well as approved the dissolution of the extant board.
Also appointed as Acting Executive Director (Finance and Administration) of NDDC is Chris Amadi, while Samuel Adjogbe, an engineer, becomes acting executive director (projects).
The appointments take immediate effect, a statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said.