By Ezrel Tabiowo and Taiye Odewale
Clarification was yesterday made available to the Senate on alleged illegal extension of the present board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Senate had earlier mandated its committee on NDDC to carry out investigation on the allegation made by Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP, Bayelsa Central).
Paulker in the allegation made via a motion moved to that effect on the floor of the Senate yesterday, declared that contrary to the clear provisions of Section 5 (3) of the NDDC Act, the tenure of the present board of the commission has been illegally extended to four years by the immediate past Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal.
He added that section 5(2) of the Act dictates that the Board headed by Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, SAN serves out the remainder of the term of the board chaired by Senator Bassey Henshaw will terminate in December 2017.
A submission that made the Senate to mandate its committee on NDDC to liase with the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation ( SGF) boss, with a view to unravelling the facts of the matter.
But the SGF in a swift action via a letter signed by a permanent secretary, Dayo Apata and made available to our reporter yesterday, denied any tenure elongation for the board members as alleged by Senator Paulker.
The letter titled: “Re: Clarification on the tenure of the governing board of NDDC,” and obtained by journalists declared that Ndoma Egba headed board is not a continuation of the dissolved one headed by Bassey Henshaw.
It states: “Section 5(2) of the act refers to a situation where a vacancy occurs as a result of any of the provisions of section 5(1) of the act as opposed to when the entire board is dissolved. In this case, the previous board was dissolved and its tenure extinguished.
“Dissolution of the board cannot be categorised as a vacancy under the act. Dissolution signifies total extinguishment of the board, it simply ceases to exist and there cannot be any remainder of any term which a successor is expected to complete.”