Femi Falana (SAN) who is a renowned constitutional and human rights lawyer has again blasted the recent action which he termed as “discriminatory, unfair and unjust” action of the President Buhari’s Federal government for its continued delay on the express inauguration of the Board of NDDC since 2019.
According to him, “whereas the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has a board in place, since May 2019, the Buhari regime has hidden under one excuse or another to treat the NDDC as an extension of the Ministry of the Niger Delta. There is no provision of the law that puts the NDDC under the Ministry of Niger Delta.”
Mr. Falana who had made this statement at an event which had been organised by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects (SERAP) over the weekend in Lagos, had also urged the people of Niger Delta region to demand the inauguration of the substantive Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Falana emphasised that, “There are two intervention agencies in Nigeria that are similar in terms of their responsibilities to the oppressed people of our country: the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the North East Development Commission (NEDC), but regrettably the Federal Government has hidden under many excuses to deny the impoverished people of the region a broad and equitable representation in the administration of the huge funds which accrue monthly to the interventionist agency.
According to Falana, “but what has happened since 2019? You are either told that we are investigating fraud in the NDDC, or ‘Oh, we have set up an audit committee to investigate allegations of fraud. That committee (forensic auditors) submitted its report since September 2021, but no white paper has been issued uptill now.”
Falana also noted that “all the contracts awarded either by the sole administrator or interim management are illegal because sole administratorship is unknown to the NDDC Act. We are, therefore, calling on the government without any further delay to inaugurate the board of the NDDC.”
Mr Femi Falana had also recently warned that if the Federal Government does not comply with the law setting up the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and put in place a substantive Board for the Commission, there might be a breach of security in the oil-producing region.