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‘They produce little oil’ — Edwin Clark seeks removal of Imo, Abia, Ondo from NDDC

‘They produce little oil’ — Edwin Clark seeks removal of Imo, Abia, Ondo from NDDC
October 25
17:24 2023

Edwin Clark, convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has asked President Bola Tinubu to initiate the amendment process of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act of 2000.

Clark also called for the removal of Imo, Abia, and Ondo states from the NDDC.

In the NDDC Act, nine oil-producing states are listed as beneficiaries of the commission’s interventions.

The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, and Rivers.

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BACKGROUND

In August, Tinubu appointed board members and a management team for the NDDC.

Chiedu Ebie (Delta) was appointed the chairman of the board of the commission while Samuel Ogbuku (Bayelsa) was named the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO).

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Other executive directors of the management team named by the president are Boma lyaye (Rivers) for finance and admin, Victor Antai (Rivers) for projects, and Ifedayo Abegunde (Ondo) for corporate services.

In October, the indigenes of the oil-producing communities in Imo state filed a suit at the federal high court for an order restraining and prohibiting the president from swearing in the managing director and executive directors of the NDDC.

The applicants said the appointment breached section 12 (1) of the NDDC Act, adding that the court should declare it unconstitutional, null, and void.

They also asked the court to withdraw the appointment and immediately appoint indigenes of oil-producing communities from Imo, Cross Rivers, and Edo states in line with section 12 (1) of the NDDC Act.

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Section 12 (1) of the act states that: “There shall be for the Commission, a Managing Director, and two Executive Directors who shall be indigenes of oil producing areas starting with the member states of the Commission with the highest production quantum of oil and shall rotate amongst member states in the order of production.”

‘APPOINTMENT SHOULD BE BASED ON QUANTITY OF OIL PRODUCTION’

Reacting to the development, Clark, in a statement on Tuesday, said the addition of Ondo, Imo, and Abia as member states of NDDC was a “political aberration”.

The PANDEF convener said appointment into the NDDC management team should be based on the quantity of oil production of each state.

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He added that it is “unfair” for a state like Imo that produces a little percentage of oil to demand the removal of the managing director of NDDC.

“It is true that the NDDC Act provides for the appointment of managing director and the two executive directors; executive director finance and administration, and executive director projects,” Clark said.

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“For all other activities of the NDDC, the act lays emphasis on the quantity of production of each state. It is the same spirit presidency felt that the appointment of staff and infrastructural development by the commission should be determined by the quantity of oil each state produces.

“But today, the struggle is between the management and the three minority oil-producing states (referring to Abia, Imo and Ondo) for equal distribution of appointment and infrastructural development.

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“In fact, there are more staff from the three non-Niger Delta state combined and the infrastructural development in equal basis.

“It will be unfair and inequitable for a state that produces 1.02% to produce a managing director of the NDDC.

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“I know Nigeria as we are, the tendency will be to develop their area at the expense of the majority of oil-producing states which incidentally happen to sum up to over 90% of the oil.

“It is therefore unreasonable, provocative and selfish for Imo state which produces only 1.02% quantum of oil to demand removal of the chief executives of NDDC board that has been confirmed by the senate.

“NDDC should remain the six original Niger Delta coastal states.”

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