A former leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, has issued a strong warning to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to strictly follow the year 2000 Establishment Law of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to avoid anarchy.
The ex-militants leader spoke to journalists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Friday.
Dokubo kicked against the constitution of a new Interim Management Committee for the Federal Government’s interventionist agency – NDDC.
Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs had on October 29, inaugurated in Abuja, NDDC’s three-member interim management committee: Acting Managing Director, Dr. Joi Nunieh (Rivers state); Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh (Delta state); and Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration (EDFA), Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang (Akwa Ibom state), while the then Acting Managing Director, Dr. Akwagaga Enyia, handed over to Nunieh on October 30.
Akpabio said during the inauguration that the members of the interim management committee would be in office until the conclusion of the forensic audit of NDDC from 2001 to 2019.
Dokubo-Asari said: “NDDC is an interventionist agency to remedy years of deprivation of the people of the Niger Delta from the resources beneath their land and the effect is enormous. The commission came to ameliorate the problems and to try to find small palliatives, but people have been playing politics with NDDC.
“NDDC has a law that established it. Disrespect for due process is a major problem. Everybody is trying to stab the other person and they say we are in control. You are in control where? How can President Buhari transmit a letter to the Senate, thereby submitting names of qualified people to be screened and a minister (Akpabio) under him, whose role even the law does not recognise, because NDDC is under the President, decided to illegally appoint another acting interim management committee, why?
“President Buhari must put his house in order. He is supposed to be President of the country. He has the power of control over all the people working under him. President Buhari must abide by the laws setting up all the agencies because what is happening in NDDC is very regrettable. So many people fought to make the Commission to come to reality, but right before their eyes, NDDC is being destroyed. Putting in place the interim management committee is a very big insult on the Presidency. It is so shocking.
“If I meet with Akpabio, I will tell him that there is no legal provision for what he has just done in NDDC. He is a lawyer. We were all together at the University of Calabar (UNICAL) in Cross River State. He should know that the interim management committee is illegal, but today the law does not mean anything any longer. So, anybody can do whatever he likes. President Buhari transmitted a letter to the National Assembly, nominating people to be screened and confirmed. So, what is the big deal about setting up another interim management committee?
“Akpabio is my very good friend. I know him and he knows me. I am not a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or All Progressives Congress (APC). Any of our people that stray to the wrong ideological camp, associating with such a person becomes difficult.
“The way forward is that people should have a conscience. If there is a new board that represents all the states, that should take precedence over some handpicked people. I know the people that are there now, as members of the interim management committee of NDDC. Maybe I will benefit, but I should not put my benefit over and above the interest of the generality of the people.
“Since 2015, I have not gone to NDDC. Anything that is associated with these people, I do Ben Johnson. I do not want to be involved. Let the right thing be done. There is a new board that represents all the stakeholders and the members have been screened by the Senate. So, needful should be done.”
The Law establishing NDDC states that the chairmanship must rotate among the nine crude oil and gas producing states in alphabetical order, with Cross River state just concluding the tenure, making it the turn of Delta state to produce the next chairman, but the chairmanship has been moved to Edo state, through the list sent to the National Assembly by President Buhari, with the nominees already screened by the Senators.