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Activist hails Buhari on Onochie’s NDDC nomination, makes case for Delta rep

By Paul Michael

An environmental activist and a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, Emumena Michael has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating Lauretta Onochie as the Chairman of the governing board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Michael, who is fondly addressed as Mc Paul, gave the commendation weekend at Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South Council area. He said by the nomination of Onochie and other board members, the President has demonstrated a genuine intention towards a more organized NDDC in the interest of the Niger Delta region.

He also urged the President to as a matter of urgency forward the name of Delta representative on the Board to the Senate for screening as stipulated by the NDDC Act.

According to him, the choice of Onochie, who he described as a courageous leader and an advocate of anti-corruption, good governance and development, is a testament of the efforts and determination of President Buhari to properly reposition the NDDC to fulfill its core mandate to the benefit of all Niger Delta States.

Mc Paul said: “Lauretta Onochie is a woman of enviable virtues, quality experience and qualification. She is known for her fearlessness, commitment and strong desire to make things right. Her choice as the Chairman of NDDC by President Buhari is in the best interest of our region. Our people must support her.

“NDDC was set up as an intervention agency to bring development closer to the people of Niger Delta who bear the brunt of crude oil exploration. Since its inception to date, over N6 trillion has gone into the Commission for the development of Niger Delta and the empowerment of her people.

“Sadly, these monies were expended on egocentric and parochial interests, leaving over 13,000 projects that would have served the people of the region, abandoned, poorly executed or not executed. Due to this obnoxious and detestable manner of management by successive governing boards, the President thought it wise to carry out a forensic audit on the activities of the Commission.

“As we are aware, the result of the audit has shown that there was high level of corruption perpetrated in the Commission. Therefore, to implement the recommendation of the forensic audit, the President needs to appoint a substantive board comprising of men and women of proven integrity, character and competence. This is what the President has done, so for me I commend him because this board will serve the interest of Niger Delta not a limited few.”

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The environment activist called on the Senate to quickly screen the nominees and confirm their appointments to enable the NDDC to kick start its development plan for the region to lessen the burden of environmental degradation caused by crude oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.

“You know that the Commission has had no substantive board since January 2019. This alone is enough reason for the National Assembly to hasten up in screening the Committee members to immediately start work to reduce the negative impact of crude oil exploration on the region.

“Let me also commend the President for forwarding the 2021, 2022, and 2023 budgets of the Commission to the National Assembly for passage. This will help the Board to immediately hit the ground running after its inauguration.

“May I also use this opportunity to urge the President to forward the name of the nominee representing Delta State on the Board in compliance with the NDDC Act to the Senate for screening. That omission needs to be urgently corrected to calm fray nerves.

“More so, it is paramount that I mentioned at this moment that all Deltans and Niger Delta people need to support the nominees of the President to avoid unnecessary delay of a substantive NDDC board that can better serve the Niger Delta region and bring closer to the people the dividends of the Buhari led government. Those currently insinuating that the nomination of some of the members did not follow the NDDC Act are advised to get a copy of the Act and properly digest it in the best interest of the region,” Mc Paul added.

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