The Senate on Tuesday confirmed 15 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 include 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).
However, the upper chamber of the Legislature rejected the nomination of Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh, as nominee representing Rivers State on the board.
In his presentation of the committee’s report, the Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, explained that the committee sent an invitation to the nominee twice to attend the screening exercise last week but that he didn’t appear before the panel for screening
The chairman drew the attention of the upper chamber to the three-man Interim Management Committee to oversee the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying that currently Nunieh is Acting Managing Director of the Interim Committee.
The committee has Dr. Cairo Ojougboh as Acting Executive Director, Projects and Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang as the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration.
The upper chamber, in a committee of the whole thereafter unanimously rejected the nomination of Nunieh as representing Rivers State based on his refusal to appear before the NDDC panel for screening.
Commenting on the existence of the interim committee, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said that there was no ambiguity in the matter since the President has sent to the his request for the Senate to confirm his nominees.
The lawmaker explained that as soon as the nominees were confirmed, any other structure that exists now will be vitiated and there is no nothing to worry about because this is something that is clearly established by the law.”
Lawan urged 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.
He said: “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”, the lawmaker added
It would be recalled that the upper chamber had last week Tuesday received a formal request from President Muhammadu Buhari for the confirmation of their appointments.
Meanwhile the Senate also 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.