By Babajide Okeowo
President Muhammadu Buhari has cited a plethora of litigation and a restraining order issued recently against the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC by a Federal High Court in Abuja as the reason why Kemebradikumo Pondei, acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was sacked.
This was announced in a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, on Saturday night.
As a replacement, President Buhari approved the appointment of Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa as an interim administrator to oversee the affairs of the commission.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of an interim administrator to oversee the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
He is Mr. Effiong Okon Akwa, the Ag. Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Commission, who is to assume headship till completion of the forensic audit.
Mr. Akwa is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The development became necessary as a result of a plethora of litigation and a restraining order issued recently against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC by a Federal High Court in Abuja” he said.
Recall that President Buhari had appointed Pondei, a professor of medicine at the Niger Delta University (NDU) in February but his tenure has been dogged with controversy.
Beneficiaries of NDDC scholarship overseas had complained about abandonment while there were different allegations of fraud against the agency under his watch.
This had led to a probe by the national assembly.
On July 20, Pondei collapsed while answering questions from the panel probing alleged mismanagement of N40 billion by the interim management committee of the NDDC.
Many Nigerians, especially on social media, had said Pondei pretended so as to avoid being held accountable by the lawmakers.
But he described the allegation that he deliberately passed out as ridiculous.
To clear the commission of the bad image, President Buhari has now approved Effiong Awa, acting executive director of finance and administration of the commission, as the new head of the agency.
Akwa would be in charge of the agency until the completion of the forensic audit ordered by the president.