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(From This Day (Nigeria) - AAGM)
Byline: Eddy Odivwri
Recently, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) came under severe criticism from the Federal Government and oil companies which are raising alarm about the project execution profile of the commission. Eddy Odivwri examines the functions of the commission and and the responsibilities of its financiers
"It should be on record that over the NDDC is only an intervention agency. It is no to take he responsibilities of other stake-holders. Instead of 15 per cent of the equivalent of statutory allocation to the states of the Niger Delta, the Federal Government is only taking (paying)10 percent. Oil companies, I understand are deliberately flouting the provisions of the NDDC Act. Instead of paying three percent of (their) annual budget, I hear they pay three percent of actual expenditure after making frivolous and inexcusable deductions."
That was the submission of His Royal Highness, Charles Ayeni-Botu, the Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities (TROMPCOM), when he attended the recent inauguration of the House Committee of NDDC, at the National Assembly.
The opinion of the TROMPCOM chief perhaps summarises the larger view by Niger Delta personages who feel that the federal government as well as the oil companies are rather reluctant in developing the region. It is curious that the federal Government for instance, has since inception of the commission continually failed to keep to the provisions of the Act in terms of payments. It is worrisome that even the government has been averse to the spirit and letters of the provision.
Indeed, it is recalled that when the Act was passed by the former National Assembly, a little row was caused on the percentage of the federal allocation the Federal Government should pay. Under the then leadership of Chuba Okadigbo and Ghali Umar Na'Abba as Senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, the National Assembly over-rode the President on the matter of …