20/01/2022

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Timelines of the NDDC Board Controversy 

3 min read

TIMELINES OF THE NDDC BOARD CONTROVERSY

July 2019 – Senator Akpabio appointed Minister of Niger Delta Affairs

August 27, 2019 – President Buhari approves appointment of a 16-member Governing Board for NDDC

October 17, 2019 – President Buhari orders forensic audit of NDDC

October 18, 2019 – President Buhari writes Senate President and forwards the names of 16-member Governing Board to Senate for confirmation

October 29, 2019 (AM) – The Senate President reads the President’s letter seeking confirmation of NDDC Board members at plenary and refers same to the Senate Committee on Niger Delta for screening

October 29, 2019 (PM) – Minister of Niger Delta, surprisingly swears in a three-member Interim Management Committee (IMC), headed by Ms. Joi Nunieh, for a six-month tenure

November 5, 2019 – Senate confirms the appointment of NDDC Board members sent by President Buhari and urges him to go ahead and inaugurate them

February 20, 2020 – President Buhari sacks Joi Nunieh as Ag. MD of NDDC IMC and appoints Professor Keme Pondei as replacement

February 21, 2020 – Akpabio promises completion of Forensic audit in December 2020

May 5, 2020 – Senate commences probe of NDDC IMC for allegedly spending N40B in three months without due process

July 20, 2020 – AG. MD of NDDC, Prof Pondei collapses during interrogation at House of Representatives probe of NDDC IMC illegal expenditure

July 24, 2020 – Senate finds NDDC IMC guilty and orders the IMC to refund N4.9B illegal expenditure

May 27, 2021 – Ijaw Youth Congress makes good its one-month notice and commence disruption of business in Niger Delta and shut down of NDDC offices over failure to inaugurate NDDC Board

May 30, 2021 – Former Niger Delta Militant, Government Ekemopulo (Tompolo) gives FG 7-day ultimatum to inaugurate NDDC Board

June 3, 2021 – Akpabio flies into Delta and meets with Tompolo and other Niger Delta leaders, in company of Delta state Deputy Governor, Otuaro, and promises to inaugurate the Board of NDDC by the end of June

June 22, 2021 – Akpabio, after meeting with Chief of Staff to President Buhari, announces end of July as final date for the completion and submission of Forensic audit report to President Buhari

June 24, 2021 – President Buhari, while receiving in audience the leadership of Ijaw National Congress promises inauguration of NDDC Board on receipt of forensic report at the end of July

July 31, 2021 – Akpabio fails to submit the NDDC Forensic audit report to the Presidency as promised

QUOTE 1
the Niger Delta Minister Chief Godswill Akpabio also in January 2021 hinted that the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission would be concluded and the report submitted before April this year. This external audit is not only taking place for nearly two years now but NDDC is being run haphazardly, without a Governing Board as provided for in its Establishment Act, at the whims and caprices of Akpabio. Gradually, the Minister of Niger Delta has apparently turned the whole forensic audit exercise into a circus where the process is not only being micromanaged, but that the NDDC is being run by the minister’s handpicked proxies. Now, he fixes and reneges on the termination date of the forensic audit under spurious excuses to justify running the agency like his personal fiefdom

QUOTE 2
Akpabio extended the stay of the IMC to December 2020, by which time he said the audit will be concluded and the Board put in place. Just when that was drawing near, he sacked the Interim Management Committee and appointed his personal aide, Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa, as Interim Sole Administrator with a promised forensic audit completion date of March 2021. With this latest failure of the Niger Delta Minister to keep to the promised July date for the completion of the forensic audit, NDDC continues to be run in violation of the law and common sense. The Minister has practically run the NDDC directly using his proxies as Interim Managements since October 2019. During this period over N800 billion has been reportedly spent by Akpabio’s Interim Managements on frivolous items and questionable payments, as evidenced by whistleblowers and the report of the National Assembly investigations in July 2020

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