The Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore the resolution of the House of Representatives calling for the constitution of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The House had on Tuesday asked Buhari to constitute the Board of the NDDC.
This resolution by the lawmakers followed the ultimatum issued to the Nigerian government by an ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.
The ex-militant had, on June 4, during a meeting with the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, gave the government till the end of this month to constitute the Board.
Ekpemukpolo also issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government on the matter.
The ultimatum was extended following the intervention of Mr Akpabio.
On Tuesday, the lawmakers asked the federal government to adhere to the NDDC Act by constituting the Board.
This resolution was one of the four resolutions reached by the lower chamber, following a motion brought by Victor Akinjo, (PDP, Ondo) during plenary.
Reacting in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Darlington Nwauju, NDRA knocked the lower chamber for wrongful interpretation of a section of the NDDC Act 2000.
“The attention of the Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA) has been drawn to the resolution of the House of Representatives during Thursday’s (10/6/21) plenary on the afore mentioned subject matter,” the statement read.
“Whilst we welcome the move by the House which is the mood of the people of the region to see that a Board is inaugurated for the smooth running of the NDDC and ensure integration and cooperation by all nine member states that make up the region, the NDRA completely and roundly disagrees with the position of the House by it’s wrongful interpretation of a section of the NDDC Act 2000.
“Whereas Sections 2 and 4 are unambiguous on the colour and structure of the Board of the Commission including its rotation of Chairmanship in alphabetical order, Section 12(1) of the Establishment Act 2000 specifically without equivocation points to the four key states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states as those from amongst whom the management positions of Managing Director, Executive Direcror Finance/Administration & Executive Direcror Projects should be distributed in order of crude oil production quantum.
“That paragraph of the Act did not in anyway make it open ended for all nine members according to crude oil production quantum to occupy these management positions. We believe the framers of the Act would have also explicitly mentioned as they did in Section 4 (which talks about rotation of Chairmanship), if the Management positions were to be distributed alphabetically or in descending order of production quantum, if the House’s interpretation is anything to go by.
“The NDRA views the House interpretation of this all important section of the Act establishing the NDDC as vexacious, misleading and capable of causing bad blood amongst the people’s of the Niger Delta region.
“We call on the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore this resolution as it wears the toga of extreme divisiveness. We further demand that the House of Representatives immediately redirects itself on this all important subject matter to avoid dragging the Green Chambers to public oprobrium. We advise the House to seek the correct interpretation of the Act from the plethora of Constitutional lawyers at it’s disposal. We call on all patriotic Niger Deltans to remain vigilant.”