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BUHARI SENDS NOMINEES LIST OF NDDC TO SENATE

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sent his nominees for Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Senate for consideration and approval amid stiff opposition.

Also, the National Assembly Joint Committee on Niger Delta Affairs on Tuesday summoned 17 oil companies to appear before it next week Wednesday over a N72billion and $273million indebtedness to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Meanwhile, controversy has continued to trail the list for the NDDC’s job following resistance by some stakeholders in the region.

Apart from the stiff opposition to the appointment of Chief Bernard Okumagba as Managing Director of the agency, controversy is also trailing the appointment of a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu as the Chairman of the Board.

Ondo state had claimed that it was sidelined in place of Edo in the appointment of Odubu while accusing Buhari of jettisoning the age-long formula for selecting a chairman for the board which would have been in its favour.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan read Buhari’s letter at plenary.

The NDDC’s Board nominees include the Chairman, Dr. Pius Odubu (Edo); Managing Director, Bernard O. Okumagba (Delta); Executive Director Projects, Engr. Otobong Ndem (Akwa Ibom); Executive Director Finance and Admin, Maxwell Okoh (Bayelsa); Delta State representative, Prophet Jones Erue; Chief Victor Ekhatar (Edo); Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh (Rivers); and Nwogu Nwogu Abi’s).

Others are Theodore A. Allison (Bayelsa); Victor Antai (Akwa Ibom); Maurice Effiwatt (Cross River); Olugbenga Elema Ondo); Hon. Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian (Imo); Northwest Rep, Aisha Murtala Muhammed (Kano); Northeast Rep, Ardo Zubairu (Adamawa) and Southwest Rep, Engr. Badmus Mutalib (Lagos).

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Meanwhile, the National Assembly Joint Committee on Niger Delta Affairs yesterday summoned 17 oil companies to appear before it next week Wednesday over a N72billion and $273million indebtedness to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, representing Delta North, gave the directive during an interactive session with the management of the NDDC, Central Banks and Union Bank in Abuja.

The Oil companies include Shebah Express Petroleum, Atlas Petroleum, Allied Energy, Frontier Oil, Seven Energy Limited, Belma Oil Producing Limited, AITECO Exploration and Production, Dubri Oil, Conoil Producing, Continental Oil and Gas.

Also invited are Enageed Resources Limited, New Cross Exploration and Production, Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Development Resources, Munipulo Petroleum Development Company, Prime Exploration and Production Company and Nigeria LNG Limited.

Senator Nwaoboshi said the summon became necessary to know why the companies have allegedly decided to break the law.

“We have invited all oil companies indebted to NDDC to come and tell lawmakers why they will not obey the law of the country. Some of them have confirmed that they are indebted to NDDC,” he said.

He disclosed that while the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) is indebted to the tune of N54billion as at when the last calculation was done, Allied and Pan Ocean owe $43million and $46million respectively.

He also disclosed that the Federal Government owes NDDC over N1trillion.

Nwaoboshi who expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of oil companies to settle their indebtedness to NDDC said that the 8th Senate made efforts to ensure the prompt payment of money meant for NDDC.

He accused the oil companies of not disclosing their real budget saying most oil companies tamper with their annual budget.

Speaking on the directives from President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a forensic audit of the NDDC, Nwaoboshi said the Committee has also resolved to carry out a comprehensive probe of the intervention agency.

Nwaoboshi said: “We welcome a forensic audit of the NDDC. The Eight Senate did technical audit and our findings are very appalling. We are going to do our own full investigation. We have resolved to do full audit of the NDDC.”

He also said that the Committee discovered funds meant for the NDDC were wrongly credited to the account of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

He said the Committee has directed the CBN to retrieve the money and credit it to the NDDC’s account.

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