President Muhammadu Buhari has removed Dr. Joy Nunieh as Acting Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and enlarged the team from three to five.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement Wednesday, 19th February, said: “The five members of the committee are now: Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei, who is the Ag. Managing Director, replacing Barrister Joy Nunieh; Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Ag. Executive Director (Projects); Mr Ibanga Bassey Etang, Ag. Executive Director (Finance and Administration); Mrs Caroline Nagbo (Member); and Cecilia Bukola Akintomide, OON, a former Vice President with African Development Bank, (Member).
Prof K.D Pondei, the new Ag. Managing Director, is a Professor of Medicine at the Niger Delta University, and former Provost, College of Health Sciences of the institution.
President Buhari had earlier approved that the Interim Management Committee would be in place till the forensic audit of the NDDC was concluded and the Interim Management headed by Dr. Nunieh, had only recently constituted a contracts verification committee, which had already commenced work in the Niger Delta States.
Many NDDC analysts however opine that the sacking of Dr. Joi Nunieh may not be unconnected with the allegation of forgery against her, claiming that she forged the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC discharge Certificate which she submitted alongside her other credentials for screening, when she was nominated as member representing Rivers State in the then constituted NDDC Management Board.
It would be recalled that a Civil Society Organization, Transparency and Integrity Crusaders, TIC had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve Joi Nunieh of her duties as the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over her alleged non-possession a valid NYSC discharge or exemption certificate.
The group, in a statement by its Executive Director, Dr Emmanuel Ekpo had said the development was being shielded “from the public space due to the tacit support of a top Government Official who has been protecting her.
“Traditionally, all appointees of critical Government Institutions are under obligation to submit their certificates to Police Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) as well as the DSS for vetting/confirmation of their authenticity before they are allowed to commence work.
“We cannot have someone with questionable credentials to be in charge of a critical Government institution as the NDDC. She addresses herself as Dr. Joi Nunieh. This is also questionable as there is no record of her having a doctorate degree.
“We refer to the similar incidence involving former Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun due to non possession of a valid NYSC discharge certificate and we hold that the case of Joi Nunieh Ag. NDDC MD should not be covered up.
“We challenge Joi Nunieh to publicly present her NYSC discharge certificate or exemption letter for scrutiny”, the statement said.