Edwin Clark urges President Buhari to constitute NDDC substantive board
Edwin Clark asks Buhari to ‘urgently’ constitute substantive board of NDDC
Edwin Clark, an Ijaw national leader and convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In 2019, Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC’s operations from 2001 to 2019.
The order came amid allegations of fund mishandling levelled against Kemebradikumo Pondei, the then-acting managing director of NDDC, which led to his sack.
On September 2, 2021, the forensic report – which revealed N6 trillion was approved by the FG in the 18-year period – was presented to Buhari.
Speaking on Tuesday during a solidarity visit by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, Clark asked Buhari to urgently set up the board.
“When the forensic audit report was submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on September 2nd, 2021, he promised to set up a substantive board. About 10 (ten) months after, no board has been constituted. This is affecting the duties of the commission, and the people of the Niger Delta region, because there is a limit to the things an interim administration can do,” he said.
“The yearning of the people of the Niger Delta region is for the federal government to constitute a substantive noard. Any other agitation, especially from some greedy and self-centred persons, for Mr. President to appoint another interim administrator will be resisted. Because there are rumours of some persons making moves for the appointment of another interim administrator for the NDDC. If this is true, it will mean that it will be the fourth time an interim administrator will be appointed, in total neglect of the Act setting up the commission. This is an aberration. The people of the Niger Delta have been patient and understanding enough.
“As Mr. President ends his tenure, we plead and wish that the cordial relationship which has been established out of very deliberate and concerted efforts, should not be truncated. We plead with him not to listen to the selfish demands of few individuals who want to continue to despoil and milk dry the Niger Delta region.
“My simple message to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari is for him to constitute, without delay, a substantive board for the NDDC, in line with the Act setting up the commission.”
He added that since the forensic audit is completed, and the white paper out, the report should be made public to enable Nigerians to know those who are culpable.
“The people of the Niger Delta have benefited little or nothing from a body that is set up to develop the region, because of outside influence, whereby award of contracts and making of payments are directed by notes from the villa and from federal government agencies,” he said.
“The law setting up the commission has been bastardised and thrown into the dust bin. Politicians have used the monies illegally collected from the NDDC, including the chairmen of the NASS committees on the Niger Delta, yet the same people have turned round to blame leaders of the Niger Delta for embezzling the resources of the commission.”
He added that the people of Niger Delta “will no longer allow such to happen, not even from people from the presidency”.