By Felix Khanoba
A non-governmental organisation, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD), has expressed disappointment over the call by some members of the House of Representatives, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to disregard the already confirmed members of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group in a statement signed by its National President, Comrade (Engr) Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, said the resolution by the lawmakers was capable of causing crisis in the already charged Niger Delta region.
The statement made available to The AUTHORITY in Abuja on Thursday, called on President Buhari to and the Senate to disregard the Reps’ resolution and go ahead to immediately inaugurate the substantive board of NDDC as agreed by the people of the South-South and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
The statement read in full : “We are shocked and very disappointed to read that some members and leadership of the House of Representatives on June 10, 2021 resolved to urge President Buhari to disregard the Senate screened and confirmed members of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which were put on standby for forensic auditing of alleged monumental fraud in the past twenty years of the Commission.
“The timing of this said Resolution coming only few days after the Elders, Youths and High Chief Tompolo vehemently opposed the continued unlawful hijack of the NDDC by a Sole Administrator and demanded immediate inauguration of the Substantive Board of NDDC to avoid total showdown of oil production in the Region, raises concern.
“More curiously, this Resolution by these members of the House of Representatives is coming barely one day after President Buhari in the Interview he granted Arise TV, where he highly commended the Elders and Youths of the Oil-Rich South-South Region that is also the Core Niger Delta Region, for the prevailing Peace and Security which has allowed smooth Production of Crude Oil and Gas for sustanance of the Economy of Nigeria at this critical time in our Nation’s History.
“These members are aware that President Buhari also lamented that he is confronted with many crises that he struggles daily to resolve and warned anyone adding more.
” They are also fully aware that the Senate, before confirming members of this NDDC Board placed on standby because of forensic auditing, carefully considered these same arguments being represented by these members of House of Representatives. Why then are these members representing same if not only to create avoidable and unnecessary crisis for President Buhari and Nigeria?
“Their action is also regretably targeted at discrediting the Senate and unjustly bringing the Hallowed Red Chamber to Public Ridicule. Nigerians must resist these members now in order to save our Country because it is better imagined if the South-South Region is provoked to anger at this time of increasing Insecurity and Instability in other Geopolitical Zones of Nigeria.
“What we expected and expect these members and the entire members of the National Assembly to urgently do is to jointly resolve to direct that in addition to immediate inauguration of the Substantive Board of NDDC, the Administrative and Operational Headquarters of the Multinational and Nigerian Oil and Gas Companies immediately and unconditionally relocate from Lagos to Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom and Rivers State Akwa States where the Oil and Gas Fields are located, in line with Sections 16 and 17 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended.
“It makes no economic sense for Headquarters of Companies to be far remote from the source of their raw materials as this will cause increase in cost of Production and sharp drop in profit margin as we witness in the case of Nigerian Oil and Gas producing Companies that spend huge funds in maintaning their Offices in Lagos and transporting hundreds of their Operations Staff from Lagos to South-South Region and back on daily basis.
“We therefore call on President Buhari and the entire Senate to disregard the said Resolution by these members of House of Representatives and go ahead to immediately inaugurate the Substantive Board of NDDC as agreed by the people of the South-South and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
“Our people remain peaceful despite decades of Economic, Social and Environmental injustices meted against us by some elites of other regions.”