The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has stated that the upper chamber of the National Assembly has not lifted the embargo on the confirmation of appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Saraki had read a letter from the president seeking the Senate’s approval for the 2017 budget estimates of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
The lawmaker representing Imo North Senatorial District, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, however, raised a point of order to remind the lawmakers that three states had no representation on the board of the NDDC, which he blamed on the suspension of confirmation of nominees.
Ohuabunwa pointed out that the NDDC Act clearly stated the composition of the board to include representatives from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers states, with three persons to represent non-oil producing states provided that such membership was drawn from the same geo-political zone which are not represented in the commission.
He said other members included one representative of the oil-producing firms in the Niger Delta nominated by the oil-producing companies, one person to represent the Ministry of Finance, one person to represent the Ministry of Environment, the Managing Director of the commission and two executive directors.
“That is the composition of the NDDC board. As I speak today, two or three states are not represented on this board and this board has been inaugurated and has been functioning," Ohuabunwa said.
Responding, Saraki stated that the NDDC board appointments could only be confirmed if the screening process started before the resolution by the Senate.
He said, “I am happy that you made reference to the fact that we all here at the Senate passed a resolution on this matter. The issue you just raised, we will look at it to see if the exercise itself started before the resolution. I know this resolution, we took it in March – I could remember it was towards the end of March last year."
“So, the secretariat should check the records. If it had started before, we will look into it; but if it started after, unless that resolution is rescinded, we are all bound by that resolution.”