The Senate on Tuesday confirmed fifteen out of the sixteen nominees forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly for confirmation as board members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The nominees confirmed by the Senate are: Dr. Pius Odubu (Edo), Chairman; Bernard Okumagba (Delta), Managing Director; Engr. Otobong Ndem (Akwa-Ibom), Executive Director (Projects); Maxwell Oko (Bayelsa), Executive Director, Finance and Admin; Jones Erue (Delta), and Chief Victor Ekhator (Edo).
Others are: Nwogu N. Nwogu (Abia), Theordore Allison (Bayelsa), Victor Antai (Akwa-Ibom), Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River), Olugbenga Edema (Ondo), Hon. Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian (Imo), Aisha Murtala Muhammed (Kano), Shuaibu Ardo Zubairu (Adamawa), and Ambassador Abdullahi Bage (Nasarawa).
One of the nominees and the Acting Managing Director of the commission, Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh, representing Rivers State on the board was rejected because she did not show up for the screening.
Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, in his presentation of the committee’s report, explained that the committee sent an invitation to the nominee twice to attend the screening exercise last week, but she refused to appear before the panel.
The upper chamber, in a committee of the whole, thereafter unanimously rejected the nomination of Nunieh as nominee representing Rivers State over the refusal to appear before the NDDC panel for screening.
Recall that the President sent the list of nominees, while the Minister of the Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, named an Interim Management Committee, headed by Nunieh and including two others, Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh and Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, while speaking on the existence of the interim committee to oversee the NDDC said, “I think there’s no ambiguity in this matter. Mr. President sent to the Senate his request for us to confirm his nominees.
“As soon as they (nominees) are confirmed, I’m sure any other structure that exists now is vitiated.
“I don’t think we have anything to worry about, because this is something that is clearly established by the law.”
Lawan tasked the Senate Committee on NDDC on the need to properly oversight the commission as soon as the new board takes over the management of the agency.
“The NDDC is a special case. We recall that the President had cause to ask for a total probe of what happened with the finances of the NDDC.
“We are supposed to continually oversight wherever public funds are put out for the development of the country,” Lawan added.
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Honourable Justice J. T. Tosho as the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria; and Hon. Justice Benedict Bakwaph Kanyip as the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.