President Muhammadu Buhari has officially communicated his decision to sack members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board confirmed by the Senate last year, without the board members having the opportunity to assume office.
In December, the President said an interim management of the NDDC would remain in place until an ongoing forensic audit of the commission is completed.
Buhari said when the audit is completed; the NDDC board would be recomposed.
At the time, Buhari did not send any official communication to the upper legislative chamber. Many saw this an attempt by the president to undermine the Senate, which had just confirmed nominees to the NDDC board.
Before Buhari’s statement, Senate President Ahmad Lawan had said the interim management team was void following the confirmation of members of the board.
But in a letter read by Lawan on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, President Buhari said the interim management should be left in place “to allow for uninterrupted process of the forensic investigation”.
“The Senate may wish to note that after the dissolution of the board of the NDDC, an interim management team was set up to manage the affairs of the commission before a new board was composed and sent for Senate confirmation.
“The Senate is invited to note that while the composition and Senate confirmation of the appointment of the board was ongoing, I had directed that the forensic audit of the commission be carried out which is being overseen by the constituted interim management team.
“Based on this and in order to allow for uninterrupted process of the forensic investigation, the board appointment confirmed by the Senate had to be put on hold to allow the interim team continue to manage the commission pending the outcome of the forensic audit.
“Thereafter, a new board of the commission will be recomposed for the confirmation by the Senate,” the President’s letter read.