The group took out time to remind the South-South governors that NDDC was created due to their abysmal failure to utlilise the huge monthly Oil Derivation funds and other funds accruing to their respective States for the development of the people and region.
In a statement sent to Vanguard by Comrade (Engr) Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, the group’s national President, VATLAD challenged the governors to publish details of how they have so far spent the trillions of naira they have received from the Federation Account.
Read the full statement below:
“Our attention has been drawn to the renewed demand on President Buhari by Governors of our South-South Geopolitical Zone to be allowed to control the affairs of our Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“It is totally untrue for these Governors to claim that their demand is borne out of their concerned about the rot in the NDDC and major failure of the NDDC as a result of its alleged refusal to forge and foster synergy, consultation and cooperation with the State Governments especially, on Project Location, Development and Execution.
“Our Governors must be reminded or informed that it was because of the continued failure of our State Governors to utlilise our huge month Oil Derivation funds and other funds accruing to our States for the development of our people and Region that we demanded and fought for the establishment of NDDC and insisted that it should operate independently and without direct or indirect interference or control by our State Governors or their Agents.
“It is very insulting to further read the threat issued by our Governors to NDDC saying: “We have resolved and we, as the State Governments will no longer allow NDDC to execute any project (s) in any State of the region without it consulting State governments”. Who gave them this mandate, where and when? Nobody!
“They must be properly educated that no State Governor owns any State of South-South or Nigeria, at large.
“No State Governor has the Constitutional Power to stop any Federal Government Agency from entering any State of Nigeria for the purpose of pursuing and ensuring the Development of the State.
“We must remind Nigerians and President Buhari that this is not the first time these Governors have made their intention publicly known to hijack NDDC for the purpose of controlling the funds accruing to it for their Political Interest as they often complain that APC Political Leaders in their State deploy the funds of NDDC to campaign against their elections or re-elections.
“Recall that last year when these Governors and others from Oil Producing States visited President Buhari to make similar demand, we immediately responded by condemning their request and advising President Buhari to be wary of them. Now they want to exploit the outcome of the ENDSARS Protest to blackmail President Buhari to succumb to their unconstitutional demand. This must not happen.
“While agree that there have sadly been massive fraud in NDDC in the past twenty years, the story is not any different in our States under our Governors. The mindless looting of funds accruing to our Region by many South-South Governors is more disheartening than that perpetrated in NDDC.
“This threat issued by our Governors regrettably expose their lack of understanding of and or total disregard for the express provisions of 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, stating clearly the principle of separation of powers of the three tiers of Government.
“This demand must not be tolerated or allowed.
“We challenge these State Governors to each, first publish details of how they have so far spent the trillions of naira that they have received on our behalf from the Federation Account before they will have the moral authority to even attempt to exercise their Advisory Privilege on operations of NDDC in our Region.
“In conclusion, we are once more vehemently opposed the attempt by our Governors to interfere with the independence of NDDC. NDDC is a creation of an Act of the National Assembly to be an Independent Federal Government Interventionist Agency to help give hope to our people and Region. No Governor should be allowed to interfere or obstruct its operations in any part of our Region.”