So much has been written about the NDDC Monitoring Committee, recently set up by President Buhari, that the Citizens Quest For Truth Initiative has taken it as a duty to inform the people on the provision of the law setting up the NDDC.
For the records, Part VI of the NDDC Act states thus:
- (1) There is hereby established for the Commission a Monitoring Committee which shall consist of such number of persons as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces may deem fit to appoint from the public or civil service of the Federation.
(2) The Monitoring Commission shall-
(a) monitor the management of the funds of the Commission and the implementation of the projects of the Commission and
(b) have access to the books of account and other records of the Commission at all times, and submit periodical reports to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
This is asides the fact that the law provides for a Management Committee for the commission, as can be seen below:
- There shall be for the Commission a Management Committee which shall-
(a) consist of a Chairman who shall be the Managing Director, two Executive Directors, the Directors responsible for the Directorates established under section 9 of this Act and such number of other members as may be determined from time to time by the Board.
III 11.(b) be responsible to the Board for the general administration of the Commission.
It is no gainsaying, therefore, that Mr. President has only adhered to a part of the NDDC Act that has hitherto be ignored.
Also, it appears that people are unaware of the fact that the law equally provides for an advisory committee for the commission, which includes the state Governors of the region. These aspects of the law seems to have been overlooked, all these years. Viz:
- (1) There is hereby established for the Commission, a Niger-Delta Development Advisory Committee (in this Act referred to as “the Advisory Committee”) which shall consist of-
(a) the Governors of the member States of the Commission; and
(b) two other persons as may be determined, from time to time, by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
(2) The Advisory Committee shall be charged with the responsibility of advising the Board and monitoring the activities of the Commission, with a view to achieving the objective of the Commission.
Section 111 No. 11
(3) The Advisory Committee may make rules regulating its own proceedings.
Again, it is important to state that information available, on good authority, to Citizens Quest, indicate that NDDC has received about N600Bn since inception, which is a sum total of the funds meant for the development of 9 oil producing states that make up the region.
We commend the President for doing what has not been done since the 19 years of the creation of the NDDC.
The steps being undertaken now ought to have been done a long time ago. The Forensic Audit, the Monitoring Committee and hopefully, the appointment of a New Board following the Act Establishing the Commission without political infractions that may lead to unending litigation.
We also the IMC expect to round up the audit within the next three months to pave way for a properly constituted Board.
These, we hope, will outlive the present Administration and properly set the tone for a New Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC), which will truly represent the region with the economic mainstay of our nation, Nigeria
Finally, we urge the monitoring committee to live up to their billing, while we hope that their emergence will birth an era of more and quality projects for the region as well as more funding for the agency, backed with prudent management of resources.