BY ADAKU ADINDU in Abuja•
Nigeria’s lower legislature, the House of Representatives has urged the Federal government to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act of 2000 with respect to the tenure of the current board.
The legislators also mandated the House Committee on NDDC to investigate alleged violation of the commission’s Act with a view to ensuring compliance and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.
Also, the lower chamber passed a motion urging the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to as a matter of urgency, commence rehabilitation of the Maiduguri-Monguno-Baga road to make it motorable; and mandated the Committees on Works and Appropriations to include the reconstruction of the road in the 2018 budget proposal.
The resolution of the lower chamber followed a motion by Hon. Daniel Ofongo (PDP, Bayelsa) on the violation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act and its attendant consequences.
He said the tenure of the Board of the NDDC was cut short in 2015 following the dissolution of the board.
According to him, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal, issued letters to the current members of the board that was inaugurated by the present administration requiring them to serve for the unexpired tenure of the board that was dissolved in 2015.
He noted that the recent statement by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the SGF regarding the letters of appointments issued to the board members by the former acting SGF, Mrs. Habila M. Lawal, which purported to have granted the board members fresh tenure of four years, rather than them serving out the unexpired tenure of the dissolved board.
“The pronouncement was in clear violation of section 5 (2) of the NDDC Act, 2000 which provides that “where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the board, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of office of his predecessor, so however, that the successor shall represent the same interest and shall be appointed by the president, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, in consultation with the House of representatives”
He said there is a nexus between the violation of the NDDC Act and youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region which has such grave consequences of impacting adversely on oil production and consequently, the nation’s revenues from the resource;
However, the motion for the rehabilitation/ reconstruction of Maiduguri-Monguno-Baga-Road was sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno).
He said the Maiduguri-Monguno-Baga road which traverses the entire Borno North was constructed in the early 1970’s and has not witnessed any rehabilitation work since then.
He said owing to the non-rehabilitation of the road over the years, it had become dilapidated and is being used by the Boko Haram insurgents in planting improvised explosives devices along the road, thereby making it very dangerous to travel on.
He raised concern that the state of the road has adversely affected the commercial and social engagements of the people of Borno North and the entire state.