Dickson Opposes Appointment Of Sole Administrator For NDDC

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The recently elected senator representing Bayelsa West constituency, Seriake Dickson has protested the appointment of a sole administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dickson aired his dissatisfaction with the development during the debate over the agency’s budget during Monday’s plenary.

The lawmaker, who seconded a motion for the passage of the budget,  called on the Senate to put a caveat on the estimates arguing that it would amount to illegality for a sole administrator to be in charge of the budget spending.

Dickson said: “Whereas it is true that an audit can go pari-pasu with a board, as a matter of fact, if you want to carry out a proper audit, you must set up the board according to the Act for them to do what they need to do.

“That is what is happening in every other corporation or institution. But in the case of NDDC, things are left the way they are.

“As it is now, all the governance structure and mechanisms put in place by the Act are non-existent. They don’t have a governing board made up of the governors and officials at the Federal level, you don’t have the board sitting on it and now they brought in the IMC (Interim Management Committee) and the IMC has gone.

“But in its place what do we have? You have another illegality replacing the earlier illegality for which the Senate and the National Assembly courageously and patriotically took the position that you have taken.

“There is no indication whether this budget that we are now being told to pass is the one that will be implemented by this Sole Administrator unknown to the laws of this country, unknown to the NDDC and unknown to the Senate.

“Whereas we need now at this stage, in the interest of the people of the Niger Delta, to consider and pass this budget, we need to add a caveat that this budget when passed should not be implemented beyond the recurrent normal running expenses until the NDDC Act is complied with.

“So that you don’t have a situation where we pass this budget and then one Sole Administrator unknown to the law and the Senate, someone whose capacity you cannot assess will be there to implement it,”.

READ ALSO: NDDC: Senate Approves N453.2b Budget Amid Forensic Audit

In his response, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan noted that stopping the implementation of the capital component of the budget would negatively impact the people of the area.

Lawan called on the Senate Committee on Niger Delta to sit up and ensure that the funds were properly utilised.

“The committee had done a good job in the past and it should continue with that,” he said.

He said the National Assembly has been engaging with the Executive for the nomination to be made for the Governing Board of the commission.

“We will continue to put in a lot of effort to ensure that within the shortest time we get the nomination so that the NDDC Act will be properly and fully complied with,” Lawan said.

“The nominations will go a long way in waking up everyone who thinks that sole administrator should be there for a long time.

“Between now and when the sole administrator we will go, the funds appropriated will be utilised.

“The budget 2021 for NDDC should be presented to us as quickly as possible because we want to streamline the implementation of all the  budgets whether it is for the MDAs or agencies like the NDDC, with the main budget of the country.

“Starting from January 2021, budget implementation for that should start.”

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