Niger Delta Coalition for Rule of Law and Good Governance (NDCRLGG) has said that the attempt by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to annex NDDC is illegal, unlawful and counterproductive.
NDCRLGG in a statement signed by Cletus Ogbodo, its President General stated that the group’s attention has been drawn to the antics of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Okon Umana and the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Adebiyi Olufunso to annex the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs contrary to the provisions of extant law establishing the NDDC as a separate agency of government.
He said that the plot is inimical to the mandate of NDDC and the desire of the people of Niger Delta and that the plot is counter-productive to the goals of NDDC as an interventionist agency and will therefore be resisted.
“The President had via a letter dated 2nd September 2019, delegated the power of supervision of the NDDC to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. The only delegation of its kind in the entire nation. This was in response to an earlier request made by the Minister titled ‘Request for the Supervision of the Niger Delta Development Commission to be transferred to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“It is imperative to reiterate that the request for the supervision of the NDDC oversight function over the activities of the Interim Administrator/Managing Director and nothing more. The mandate of supervision which is on an interim basis does not by any stretch of the imagination extend to the conduct of managerial or administrative functions.
“NDCRLGG is aware that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana is attempting to subsume NDDC under the Ministry of Niger. NDCRLGG says categorically that attempt to hijack the constitutional mandate of NDDC will not work.
“Such motive is counterproductive to the aspirations of people of Niger Delta, unlawful and ultra vires his power of supervision,” he added.
Ogbodo also noted that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is separate and distinct from the NDDC and that both are two streams that do not mix or cross paths.
“While the NDDC is enacted by a valid and subsisting Law, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, just like every other ministry in the country has its clear-cut mandate, budget and civil service structure.
“We can therefore not imagine an NDDC Director taking instructions from a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. It is a misnomer that can not stand the test of logic and law.
“From erroneously referring to the NDDC ‘as it’s an agency and administratively overseeing the Management Retreat of the NDDC last month July 2022, the Minister through the Permanent Secretary, Olufunso, has further directed a Personnel Audit of staff of the NDDC in a bid to achieve the unlawful plot of running both institutions as a single unit.
“This is beyond the supervisory powers of the Minister and as such ultra vires. Such administrative powers/functions only lie with the Management of the NDDC as a distinct and separate agency (through the MD) or the Head of Service of the Federal Civil Service Commission as the controlling body of the Civil Service nationwide.
“The supervisory powers of the Minister do not come close. It falls short of such authority even in wonderland.
The group, therefore, called on the Minister to desist from this lawlessness, impunity and abuse of power.
It also called on the President to put an end to this macabre dance in NDDC and that the President should urgently return the NDDC to the office of the Secretary General of the Federation and constitute the statutory board to oversee the affairs of the NDDC which is interventionist agency.