The Senate has mandated its committee on Niger Delta to work with the newly approved board when considering the 2019 and 2020 budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission and not the interim committee inaugurated by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, gave the directive during plenary on Thursday.
“Let me reiterate that you deal with the governing board that this Senate approved,” he said as he directed the committee to consider the request of President Muhammadu Buhari and report back in two weeks.
Mr Buhari had written to the Senate on Tuesday seeking the consideration and passage of the commission’s 2019 and 2020 budget.
The Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, however, urged the president to immediately inaugurate the newly approved members of the board of the commission. This, he said, will help prevent delay in the budget passage.
Since their confirmation on November 5, the president is yet to inaugurate the board to enable the members to resume office. Instead, an interim management team set up by Mr Akpabio after Mr Buhari had sent his nominees to the Senate, is currently managing the NDDC.
Addressing journalists, the Senate spokesperson, Godiya Akwashiki, said the Senate has done its part by confirming the nominees and hoped that the president will inaugurate the board soon.
“We have done justice to his request and confirmed the nominees. We have sent our resolution to him. It is not our responsibility to inaugurate then board. We did not give them any office, we don’t recognise them. They cannot appear before the Senate to defend budget.
“I want to believe within the shortest possible time, Mr president will inaugurate the board. It doesn’t take time.”
While he assured that there is no confusion in the NDDC, he asked Nigerians to exercise patience with the government and national assembly.