The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), has called for the inauguration of board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
AUPCTRE’s General Secretary, Sikiru Wahid, who made the call on Sunday, in a statement, said the call had become imperative to save the commission from destruction.
The union therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly (NASS), President of the Senate,
Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, to take urgent steps to ensure NDDC delivered on its mandate.
”As critical stakeholders in the Niger Delta Development Commission, and of the regional development efforts, after taking a critical review and appraisal of all the happenings within and around the NDDC, since January, 2019, have resolved as follows:
”That we as staff of the NDDC collectively, under the umbrella of AUPCTRE, cannot fold our hands while different political actors from the region through their actions or inactions undermine the enabling Act of the NDDC, and so threaten the corporate existence of the commission.
”That as a Union, we say to all political heavy weights from the Niger Delta Region, that enough of putting personal interest over and above the development of the region for which the vehicle of the Niger Delta Development Commission was setup,” Wahid stated.
According to the union, when in January 2019, NDDC’s Managing Director/CEO Nsima Ekere and it’s Chairman, Sen. Victor Ndoma Egba, resigned their appointments to contest elections in their respective states, their positions should have been filled in accordance with Section 5, Paragraph 3, of the act establishing the commission.
”The paragraph which states inter alia that; ”Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the board, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term of his predecessor.
”So however, that the successor shall represent the same interest and shall be appointed by the President, Commander –in – Chief of the Armed Forces, subject to the confirmation of the Senate, in consultation with the House of Representatives,” the union explained.
According to AUPCTRE however, political gladiators from the region for whatever reason(s), ill advised the Buhari to dissolve the board of the commission, and in its place, appointed an Interim Management Committee.
The union said the commission did not fully represent all NDDC states, a situation that had culminated into anger and lack of support by the aggrieved persons towards successive interim management committees.
”Thus, instead of focusing efforts on driving development of the commission, these committees either fight back or focus on pacifying the aggrieved stakeholders.
”And since that January 2019 therefore, it has been one interim administration or the other. We as members of staff, as a union, are saying enough of all these. Let the right thing be done,” AUPCTRE reiterated.
The union also faulted the forensic audit being carried out on NDDC’s activities.
”Enough of these unending audits which fritter away the funds of the commission.
”A forensic audit, meant to take between three to six months to complete, but eventually took almost two years to complete, has been undertaken.
”A forensic audit that could have been carried out without suspension of the inauguration of a board, but for some personal reasons one or two politicians from the Niger Delta Region ill advised the president against the inauguration of the board.
”At the moment, auditors from the office of the Auditor General for the Federation, have been in the NDDC for about two months auditing the books of the commission, including personnel staff files,” AUPCTRE stated.
The union therefore, kicked against what it described as unending audits that were clearly hampering the development of the region through the NDDC.
”Like the previous forensic audit, we do not know when this will end. Consequently, we are saying enough is enough. Enough of the ill-advising of Mr. President. and the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs.
”We as staff of the commission and as a union, want to partner with Mr. President and the minister, who exercises supervisory powers over the NDDC on behalf of the president, to do the right thing for the NDDC.
”Let the Board of the NDDC be inaugurated, with the same ease as it has been done for other commissions, agencies and parastatals of government across the Federation.
”As a union, we hereby state unequivocally that we are not against a Personnel Audit of the commission, just as we were not against the Forensic Audit.
”But we are against putting the cart before the horse. We are against a personnel audit wherein Assumption of Duty Forms of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs are given to staff of the NDDC to fill as if they are fresh employees of government,” it maintained.
AUPCTRE also reiterated that it was against doing anything that contravened the NDDC Act, 2000 as amended.
The union, however, appreciated Umana’s efforts at resolving the issues, describing such as a first step in the right direction.
”But as a continuation of that step in the right direction, we the general staff of the NDDC will also love to have a general meeting with the minister, preferably at the NDDC Headquarters in Port Harcourt, to reduce traveling costs.
”Such a meeting will afford the minister the opportunity of getting a first hand knowledge of staff grievances and issues that are generally hampering the commission’s delivery on its mandate, and help him achieve success in the onerous task assigned to his office,” AUPCTRE said in the statement.