Still about the ongoing war on how to fund the Niger Delta Development Commission – NDDC and the appeal by Governors of the nine States of the catchment area, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has faulted claims made by Governors of the zone that funds for the running of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) be kept in an escrow account until the constitution of a Board for the Commission, but he (the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs) still insist that the Governors have no powers to direct the president on what to do.
Akpabio spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital while fielding questions from Journalists during a press briefing ahead of the virtual inauguration of the new office Headquarters of the NDDC by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.
Virtually all nine Governors of the NDDC outreach boycotted the Commission invitation for the inauguration of the new complex. Only Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State who is part of the region attended the event. The six Governors of the South-South region had earlier in their regional meetings, condemned the continued running of the interventionist agency without a management Board and had advocated that the funds be kept in an escrow account until a Board is set up for the commission.
But Akpabio faulted the Governors and declared that they had no right to give directives to the President.
He said: “I’m not aware that the Governors are the ones that give directive to the President. So, if you are saying that the South-South Governors just finished their meeting and gave directives to the President not to release funds, I want to let you know that we have pleaded with the Governors, even when I was a Governor to ensure that local government have elected executives. Some Governors for eight years use caretaker committees to run Local Government and the federal government has not denied them their funds”.
He explained that he was not against the constitution of a Board for the NDDC but added that it was being delayed by the ongoing Forensic Audit of the NDDC which he said had reached an advanced stage and would be concluded in no distant time.