South-South Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark, has urged the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, to operate within the laws establishing the commission.
Mr Clark gave the charge on Wednesday while receiving the management of the commission at his residence in Abuja.
The elder statesman said the commission had been under pressure lately from the people of Niger Delta for operating outside the law.
He said the appointment of Mr Akwa was based on his qualification and urged him to live up to expectations during his tenure.
“There is a law governing NDDC and no one should breach that law. Not even the president has the power to do so unless it is amended by the National Assembly.
“Any attempt to breach the law becomes illegal, null and void.
“There have been many arguments on the legality of a sole administration over the years. They are appointed over time to oversee the commission.
“I wish you the best of luck, we support your appointment,” he said.
Mr Clark appealed to the federal government to intervene in the East West Road by allocating special funds for its completion.
According to him, there is no provision in the NDDC budget for the road.
He also appealed to youth in the region to give peace a chance and allow the commission carry out its mandate.
Mr Clark said he believed in the ongoing forensic audit of the commission, adding that the earlier a board was constituted in accordance with the law the better.
Earlier, Mr Akwa said the visit was aimed at presenting his work plan to the elder statesman whom he described as a father of the Niger Delta region.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his appointment, assuring that he would do his best towards alleviating the sufferings in Niger Delta.
According to him, Niger Delta people have suffered a lot as some people cannot visit their homes due to flood and environmental degradation.
The administrator said the National Assembly had approved the commission’s budget and that a lot would be done to transform the region within the shortest time possible.
“We are to collaborate with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and within six to one year, the East West Road and all bridges would be completed and handed over for use.
“We have youths abroad on scholarship and we have paid all the fees up to 2020 and anybody left may be based on technical hitches.
“We met a headquarter building on the ground, but right now it is 98 per cent ready, and we will be inviting Mr President to commission it soon.
“In the next few months, we want to identity those who has executed a contract that have not been paid.
“We want to pursue payment of contractors from ecological funds to ensure everyone is paid.
“Within the next three months, we shall commission hostel building projects in our universities that have been abandoned for about 20years,” he said.
Mr Akwa said there was no imposition in his appointment to head the commission and called for support from leaders and youth to allow peace to reign and for the transformation of the region into a new world.