The Nigerian Senate is proposing an amendment to the law establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to clarify who is qualified for appointment into the board of the commission.
Section 2 (1) b of the Act establishing the NDDC reads: “There is hereby established for the Commission a governing board which shall consist of (a) Chairman; (b) one person who shall be an indigene of an oil producing area to represent each of the following member states, that is, (i) Abia State, (ii) Akwa Ibom State, (iii) Bayelsa State, (iv) Cross River State, (v) Delta State, (vi) Edo State, (vii) Imo State (viii) Ondo State, and (ix) Rivers State.”
While presenting the proposal for the amendment in the Senate during plenary on Thursday, Peter Nwaboshi (PDP/ Delta North), said that “It turned out that the interpretation of ‘an indigene of an oil producing area’ has been problematic.
“‘An oil producing area’ seems to be quite amorphous.
“This bill has taken care of the issue by clarifying the phrase to read thus: ‘an indigene of an oil producing local government area’,” said Mr Nwaboshi, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta.
Mr. Nwaboshi said the Senate mandated his committee to carry out a review of the Act when the senators noticed “certain ambiguities” in the Act during the confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees for the NDDC board appointment in 2016.
He said the committee consulted parties in the Niger Delta region and received their inputs for the amendment.
The senator also said that funding has been a major challenge facing the NDDC since it was established in 2000, adding that the fund meant for the commission are unduly delayed most times.
“The commission is being owed the sum of over N1.8 trillion, while its debt profile is over N1 trillion.
“Worst still, is the breach of the provision of the Act. No money from the ecological fund has ever been released to the commission, neither has gas producing companies paid fund to it.”
He said the Act was being strengthened to ensure that statutory funds are released promptly to the commission.
“It is imperative to amend the Niger Delta Development Act 2000 so as to pave the way for more efficient running of the commission,” Mr. Nwaboshi said as he urged senators to support the passage of this bill.