The Senate has confirmed Lauretta Onochie and 12 other nominees as chairperson and members of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) respectively.
Those confirmed, apart from Ms Onochie are Dimga Erugba (Abia), Emem Wills (Akwa Ibom), Dimaro Denyanbofa (Bayelsa), Oruk Duke (Cross River), Gbenga Edema (Ondo) and Elekwachi Dinkpa (Rivers).
Others are Mohammed Abubakar (Nasarawa), Sule-Iko Sani (Kebbi), Tahir Mamman (Adamawa), Samuel Ogbuku (Bayelsa) MD for a term of two years, Charles Airhiavbere (Edo) Director of Finance and Charles Ogunmola (Ondo) Director of Projects.
The lawmakers stepped down the confirmation of two nominees who failed to appear for screening.
Ms Onochie, currently a presidential aide, was confirmed during plenary on Tuesday. The confirmation was a sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in November asked the Senate to confirm 15 nominees for NDDC.
Last week, the committee screened 13 of the 15 nominees. At the screening, some members of the panel complained that some nominees like Ms Onochie and Charles Ogunmola from Ondo State were not from oil-producing communities.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the three Ondo senators – Ajayi Boroffice,(Ondo North); Ayo Akinuelure (Ondo South) and Nicholas Tofowomo (Ondo South) – sought Mr Ogunmola’s rejection on grounds that he is not from an oil-producing community.
The Acting Chairman of the committee, Bulus Amos (APC, Gombe South), who presented the report to the Senate, said the nominees possessed the requirements to be on the NDDC governing board.
He also asked that the confirmation of Pius Odubu and Anthony Okanne be stepped down because they failed to appear before the committee for screening.
“During the screening exercise, two of the nominees – Odudu and Okanne were absent and there was no information explaining their absence from Senator Babajide Omoworare, Senior Special Assistant to the president on National Assembly Matter,” he said.
On his part, Bayelsa senator, Seriake Dickson, commended the president. He also prayed that a clause be added to the NDDC Act to ensure that future presidents nominate people from oil-producing areas to head the Commission.
However, Mr Tofowomo complained that the petition written by the Ondo senators was ignored by the committee.
“This report would have been very beautiful if the chairman had referred to our decision in Ondo State that the three senators declined to support the nomination. The whole world is watching us,” he said.
The nominees were thereafter confirmed in the Committee of the Whole.
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