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The Niger Delta Rights Advocates (NDRA) has warned the National Assembly against sacrificing its report on the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), on the altar of executive-legislative cooperation.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, NDRA spokesman Darlington Nwauju urged Senate President Ahmed Lawan to ensure the implementation of recommendations of the Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi ad-hoc committee, which probed the IMC.
He recalled that the committee, among other things, recommended the dissolution of the IMC and the refund of N4.925billion extra-budgetary expenditure made by the Prof. Keme Pondei-led IMC.
Nwauju said they would embark on protest to shut down the National Assembly complex if the lawmakers attempted to jettison their report.
He said: “It is our considered opinion that given the fact that the National Asembly has made far-reaching decisions, which include but not restricted to the dissolution of the IMC, it will amount to disrespect for Section 88(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) from where the National Assembly drew its powers to oversight the NDDC if the recommendations are abandoned.
“In addition to this indubitable fact, the National Assembly would have made a caricature of the doctrine of the separation of powers under a constitutional democracy, if the much-publicised recommendations of the National Assembly are abandoned or set aside or swept under the carpet in the guise of cooperating with the executive arm of the government.
“So far, the inaction of the National Assembly over the illegal contraption in the name of an IMC amounts to a grave conspiracy of silence, which shortchanges the overall interest of the people of the Niger Delta.
“The doctrine of fair representation captured in our operational laws has been ignored as the Niger Delta is made up of nine oil-producing states, which require equal representation on the board and management of the NDDC.
“The NDRA demands once again that the National Assembly communicates its position on this matter, as we shall not hesitate to shut down the National Assembly complex through massive protest if the current IMC or any IMC for that matter attempts to represent the region on any budgetary matter either by submitting, defending or operating the NDDC budget forthwith.”