The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Mrs Lauretta Onochie from Delta, as the Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The upper chamber also confirmed the appointment of 12 members for the commission.
This followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs at Tuesday’s plenary.
Presenting the report, Sen. Amos Bulus. the Vice-Chairman of the committee said that the committee during screening, observed that two of the nominees were absent.
“And there was no information from the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) explaining their absence.
“The two presidential nominees that were absent and therefore not screened are: Dr Pius Egberanwen Odudu, nominee to represent Edo on the Governing Board of the NDDC.
“And also, Anthony Okanne, nominee to represent Imo on the governing board of the NDDC,” he said.
Bulus said that accordingly the committee stepped down the screening of the two nominees for reason of non-appearance.
He said that after the screening, the 13 nominees were found to possess the requisite qualifications.
In his contribution, Sen. Seriake Dickson (PDP-Bayelsa) commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointments.
“At least, finally we have the President’s nominations to properly constitute the board as required by the act.
“I want to in that same vein to commend the President of the Senate and distinguished senators for the very patriotic position that this senate has had to take on the issue of the composition and ensuring the proper functioning and operations of that critical body,” he said.
Dickson said that the current law regulating the NDDC was actually a baby of the national assembly.
“It was not an executive proposal, it was not contained in the executive proposal that was sent.
“The national assembly did it for good reason because it was the product and the agitation of the people of the oil producing communities,” he said.
He also submitted that a clause should be added in the the committee’s resolution.
“The clause is for the Buhari and all future presidents to implement the act to comply in their positions with the requirement of indigeneship.
“The clause says that the nominee must come from oil producing areas.
“No matter how you interpret it, it can not go outside the community, local government and it should in my view not go outside the senatorial district,” he said.
In his remarks, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said that at last the commission has gotten a proper management and board.
“I believe that time is of essence here. The chairman and members should hit the ground running; so much time has been lost.
“I believe that from now until when their tenure will elapse they have a lot of work to do because NNDC as we all know is an interventionist institution created by government in 2000,” he said.
Lawan urged the Executive to send the result of the forensic audit carried out on the NDDC.
“Yes, let us see the result of the forensic audit. The audit had taken its toll on the commission,” he said.
Buhari had on Nov. 23, written the Senate seeking for the confirmation of the appointment Onochie and 14 others as the substantive chairman of the board of the NDDC and members.
In furtherance to that, the Senate also refered the matter to its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs for screening and confirmation.
▪︎ Report by NAN